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The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel (P.S.) Paperback – Deckle Edge, December 31, 2013
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Pub Date: 2013-12-31 Pages: 512 Language: English Publisher:. HarperCollins Chava is a golem. a creature made of clay. brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic Ahmad is a jinni. a being of fire. born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago. he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Struggling to make their way in 1899 New York. the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their immigrant neighbors while masking their true selves. Meeting by chance. they become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures. until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again. threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.Marv...
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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!
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.
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.
Ms. Wecker doesn’t simply invite us to know her characters, she has fully immerses us in their world, their lives, and in their thoughts. As we read the book, the rhythm of our own thoughts and the vocabulary of our own reflections begin to take on a hint of flavor from those of the characters. These characters are so rich in their responses and their thought life as well as the way they see the challenges ahead of them that, while there is a lovely driving narrative throughout the whole story, you can simply enjoy diving into the well of these lives.
Full review on JoesGeekFest on Wordpress