Goodreads: The Golem and the Jinni
Published: April 15, 2013
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.
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. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.
The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; 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 threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
The Golem and the Jinni is an enjoyable book, but I have to admit I do not fully understand the hype. The story is quiet one about people finding their own paths in the bustle of New York City. While the fact that the two protagonists are not human is often very much the point of the narrative, as they feel compelled to fight their own natures in order to blend in with society, their inhumanity in many other respects often seems tangential. This could have been a story about anyone who felt he or she had something in his or her personality that needed to be suppressed or hidden.
The book is mainly character portraits, so readers who are looking for a strong plot will not be satisfied with the book. There are also many flashbacks to the Jinni’s old life, which are important for character building, but which are not often compelling as scenes in and of themselves. That said, I did like the various perspectives of New York that were presented in the book, and I enjoyed that people from many different walks of life were able eventually to come together. Although I think the book does have some points, overall, it does not really speak to me.