Friday, September 6, 2013

The Golem and Djinni by Helene Wecker

This a fabulous debut. An historical fantasy tale set in New York in 1899 in which the author conveys a strong sense of time and place. The author brings to life the many various neighbourhoods of turn of the century New York, the cold, the poverty, the overcrowding but also the customs and the habits and most importantly she brings alive the legends and the heritage as the two main characters are creatures of Arabic and Jewish mythology. The Golem is Chava a woman made from clay her purpose to serve her master in all things but when her master dies she is cast adrift and must find new purpose. Ahmad is the Djinni trapped for centuries in a copper flask and freed by a unwitting tinsmith. Each has their own separate beginning but the author seemlessly weaves together the disparate mythologies and unites the two characters who are hunted by a desperate and dangerous magician. This is a glorious and page turning escapist read perfect for fans of Susanna Clarke, Deborah Harkness and Carol Goodman.

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