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Book Review
The Golem and the Djinni

Woman in the Polar Night

 By Helen Wecker

1900. Two immigrants arrive on the shores and streets of New York. Amand is a djinni that emerges from a lamp from Syrian desert and Chava is a golem, who’s newly made and master-less in a city that asks so much. Both must discover who they are in this new world and how their lives are connected.

The Golem and the Djinni is a unique, standalone work of fiction. Were it not for the magical qualities of our two main characters, it could almost be thought of as historical fiction. But magic runs right through, twinning with history and taking the reader to unexpected places.

Chava and Amend are the perfect duo to thrust into this world. Chava is newly made, and her nature forces her to hear the thoughts of others and want to help, while the Djinni follows his own desires trying to discover why and by whom he was placed in the lamp so many hundred years ago. Both explore aspects of the male and female of the time and what it means to be a part and apart from a community and changing culture.

Wecker has clearly done incredible research into the lives of immigrants before and after they arrived in New York. Utilizing this diverse landscape, she veers away from the stereotypical white gilded age barons and their luxury. This results in a city and people who feel alive, diverse and authentic.
To top it all off, Wecker is a beautiful writer, cultivating depth and immersion through language.

I am really drawn to unserialized fantasy, especially ones that linger so close to the line of historical fiction.

Refreshing, powerful and excellent. This is, hands down, one of my favourites.
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Reviewed by Kelsey Ward

 

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