That’s the line that first struck me. I grew up a comic book nerd and am still a huge fan of Neil Gaiman so “magical realism” is a genre I’m quite keen on. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker is already being favourably compared to The Night Circus—a book I really enjoyed—so I was hopeful when it first came out and thought that this story could rival my appreciation for that book.
And, it did. Quite a bit actually.
The story of Chava, a golem brought to life by a disgraced rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni released from an old copper flask but not entirely free feels, strangely, rooted in reality. Wecker has done a superb job in placing these two characters in an actual time and place (1899 New York City) which makes the story feel as if it actually could happen—or did happen. That sense of believability was something I actually thought was lacking a bit in The Night Circus and made The Golem and the Jinni all the more enjoyable.
Part love story, part thriller, part whimsy and magic it’s an incredible book that I’m happy to make my staff pick for May.