May 2013 Indie Next List
— Nick Petrulakis, Books Inc., Alameda, CA
In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
About the Author
Helene Wecker received a BA from Carleton College in Minnesota and an MFA from Columbia University in New York. A Chicago-area native who has made her home in Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York, she now lives near San Francisco with her husband and daughter. The Golem and the Jinni is her first novel.
“Set against the vivid backdrop of New York City’s immigrant neighborhoods in the late 19th century, Helene Wecker’s tale of two fabled creatures has the intimate feel of a story handed down from generation to generation. With a delightful blend of the prosaic and the fanciful, The Golem and the Jinni explores what it means to be human as Chava and Ahmad struggle to live and find love while overcoming the powerful adversary who threatens to destroy them.”
— Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches
“Original and fresh. . . . A fascinating blend of historical fiction and Jewish and Arab folklore”
— Library Journal
“[A] spellbinding blend of fantasy and historical fiction.”
— Publishers Weekly
“The premise is so fresh. . . . A mystical and highly original stroll through the sidewalks of New York.”
“Wecker begins with a juicy premise. . . and great adventures ensue. . . . She writes skillfully, nicely evoking the layers of alienness that fall upon strangers in a strange land.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Magical thinking comes alive in an enchanting allegory of the immigrant experience as two mythical beings try to make sense of themselves and the world around them.”
— Family Circle Magazine
“THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI is recommended to adults who enjoy a good story and have a childlike sense of make-believe.”
— New York Journal of Books
“It sounds like the setup for a really strange joke: 'A golem and a jinni walk into a bakery in early 19th-century New York....' But this debut novel—part fantastic tale, part historical fiction—is one of the most highly anticipated fiction releases of the spring.”
— Christian Science Monitor
“The most exciting fantasy debut since Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell. Helene Wecker must be a born writer; there is no other way to account for the quality of her prose, as phenomenal as any of the supernatural wonders she delivers in the glorious The Golem and the Jinni.”
“In the best instances, you don’t merely read a book—you dive in and happily immerse yourself, forgetting the troubles of daily life for a while. The Golem and the Jinni offers just such an absorbing experience. ”
— USA Today