I’m always posting about our favorite children’s books, right? Well, I like to read grown-up books as well, and I am constantly recommending Helen Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni to friends looking for a great read. My friend Gabe recommended it to me last summer. He told me, “Honestly, toward the end I was turning pages before I had finished reading them.” Yes, it was THAT good.
I suggested it to my book club a couple of months later, and we unanimously agreed it was the best book we read in 2013. In fact, The Golem and the Jinni made a lot of Best of 2013 lists. Like this one, and this one, and this one!
I always have a hard time describing the book to my firends, because it is not the kind of book I would normally have picked out. The two main characters are a golem and a jinni, two mythical creatures. But it’s not really a fantasy or science fiction novel – it’s more of a cultural view of Jewish and Syrian immigrant communities in turn-of-the-century New York City. But that doesn’t really do it justice either. Just watch this YouTube clip from Harper Books:
I was spellbound by Wecker’s descriptions of the jinni’s desert homeland and his relationship with a Bedoin girl. And though the novel is incredibly long, the ending happens at such a fast pace that I actually felt like I needed to go back and re-read it to fully understand what had happened. (Or maybe I, too, was turning pages before I had even finished reading them?)
So if you’re looking for a captivating read, check out Helen Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni. If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought!