Author: Helene Wecker
Publisher: Blue Door
Original title: The Golem and the Jinni
Blue Door: various formats
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 djinni, 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 Djinni 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 Djinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
You know that book that you feel reluctant about to pick up because it seems to much of something you are not really interested in but everyone keeps going on and on about how beautiful it is and that you should read it.... yeah The Golem and the Djinni was one of those books! I do not have much with fairy tales or religious stories. Golems... Djinnies ... it all sounded a bit to weird. Still I could not ignore the buzz and when I found an affordable copy I decided to give it a go.
I do understand now more or less what a Golem and a Djinni are but the emphasis is not really on the religious or magical or mythical part of both creatures. Yes they are important for their existence and how they are looked at but this story is more about surviving as a stranger in strange surroundings... falling in love ... impossible or not. Chava and Ahmed are easy to connect to. Both have things you will like in them and things you will loathe. They are very human like that. I did enjoy Ahmed the most as he was a bit reckles and fierce but the care Chava is taking to keep her secret is very understandable too. The other characters playing a part all have clear spots that make sense.
A beautiful story about humans and creatures alike trying to define what they are and where they belong in the world.