The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

The Golem and the Jinni - Helene Wecker Often books that move too slowly are dull and boring to read, lackluster stories stretched out hundreds of pages longer than necessary. In the hands of the right author, however, a slow ponderous plot can become utterly magical. Helene Wecker is one such author.

I will make a small disclaimer: I very, very rarely read historical fiction. I'm currently struggling through The Luminaries, mainly because (aside from having heard it's brilliant) I'm proud that a young New Zealand woman has won the Booker Prize. Other than this, I tend to be drawn to books set either now, in the hugely distant past or future or (often) maybe written 50 years ago. This includes fantasy set in other times. Something about the 19th/early 20th century just doesn't do it for me. This book is a huge exception to that rule - I absolutely adored it, and the time period is an intrinsic part of that.

Despite the historical setting, The Golem and the Jinni never feels outdated, as the struggles faced by both human and magical creature are as relevent in 2014 as in 1899. Chava and Ahmad are compelling leads, each believeably flawed and likeable. Though the book is a decent length (nearing 500 pages) it is an easy read – I found this was mainly because I couldn’t put it down. This is Wecker’s debut novel – I can’t wait to see what she does next!