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The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 819 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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The writing in this book reminds me a lot of The Bear and the Nightingale in that it felt very atmospheric as well as giving off a strong classic fairy tale vibe. This book has a very slow pace overall, most of the action happens in the last 15% of the book. The author gives of us a lot of backstory interwoven with the characters present day actions, and none of it is really tied together until the end. The ending was sort of fantastic, like the lynch pin that holds everything together. For these reasons, this book will take patience to read.
The characters take time to grow on you. Maryam Faddoul, Arbeely, and the Rabbi I liked right from the beginning, but the Golem and the Jinni you grow to love over the course of novel and again, it isn't until the end that you really feel anything for them.
My only real issue with this book, involves big spoilers so read ahead at your own risk: The deaths of Michael Levy and Dr. Saleh seemed to be glazed over. No real gravity was given to their deaths. They seemed so tragic in that they were completely innocent and Dr. Saleh's was completely heroic, but none of the characters in the book seem to acknowledge their deaths or their sacrifices and this kind of bothered me. I personally didn't feel much about them one way or the other, and I felt like I should have. I should have wanted to cry about it but I didn't, which is why I gave the book overall 4 stars and not 5.
As I was reading it, I even found myself deliberately slowing my reading pace down so that I could savor the novel, to better appreciate Ms. Wecker's artistry. I sincerely hope that she doesn't wait another 7 years to produce her second novel!
Yes, it's got a slow pace, that worked out for me. As and adult, I can only read on my lunch breaks. If I came back to the book over the weekend, I'd have no problem jumping right back in. Perhaps if I tried to read it all in a day, I'd find myself a little annoyed. The pace picks up at the end though...I'd say around the time of the dance.
We get pretty in depth with all these characters early on, finding out their backstories and all, but Wecker's prose makes it a joy. And every character we get to know shines in the end. This is a cast of essentially good people. They believe in the goodness of humanity and want what's best for others. This is not at all a cynical book. It's about freedom, and people who are just a little odd finding ways to be themselves in society.
Ice Cream Saleh, Anna, Arbeely, they are all awesome to read about, but the titular Golem and the Jinni really so shine as characters. The Jinni's impulsive, passionate, is endlessly curious about humanity despite thinking himself as superior to it, values freedom and life. The Golem is a new soul, also curious but more cautious, so empathetic it hurts, and is naturally a protector. You want them to meet, and then you want them to be happy together. They are believable as friends or as lovers. They bicker a lot, but have a lot of respect for one another too.
This book makes me grin so wide even a month after finishing it.
I found the snapshots of daily life in the Syrian and Jewish immigrant communities fascinating, I learned much I didn't know about them. The way the author interweaves the magic and mythical part into the mundane was very well done. The book is just well written, start to end, I couldn't find any faults in it. I look forward to this author's future books, but this will be a hard act to follow!