Book Review – The Golem and The Djinni by Helene Wecker

First published, 2013

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Oh, how I loved this book.

The story begins in 1899, when a failed businessman who cannot find companionship, due to his rather sneering personality, resorts to hiring a dark and dangerous scholar to make him a golem. A golem is a creature made of clay, with no will of its own, usually used for vengeance and protection. However, the businessman intends for this creature to be his wife. During a treacherous crossing to New York, Rottfeld wakes his creature, only to fall ill and die before they reach port.

Suddenly alone, with no one to teach her about the world, herself or what is expected of her, the new golem has to find her way through the city, all the while, hearing the thoughts, fears and desires of all around her.

Meanwhile, a tinsmith in the Little Syria quarter of New York sets about mending a damaged copper flask for a client, only to discover a djinni, who has been trapped in the flask for a thousand years, suddenly sprawled, naked, on the floor of his workshop.

So begins an atmospheric tale of discovery and kinship, with multiple characters, twists and turns, chaos, nightmares, pathos and memory. Utterly captivating, I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to read it again.

Highly recommended.