A Tale of Supernatural Immigration

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker – I actually first saw this book at Target, and was immediately drawn to the title. After checking out some reviews, I checked it out from the library. Wecker is Jewish and has an Arab husband, and there are references to the mythology of both cultures in this novel. A golem created in Poland and a jinni from Syria both arrive in Manhattan through a somewhat strange set of circumstances, and do what they can to fit in with the immigrant populations there. They take the names Chava (from the Hebrew for “life”) and Ahmad, and meet up with an interesting cast of characters: the old rabbi who takes in and names Chava, his apostate nephew who falls in love with the golem without knowing her nature, Chava’s friend Anna Blumberg from the bakery where she works, the smith Boutros Arbeely with whom Ahmad goes into business, a curmudgeonly ice cream man who recognizes what the jinni is due to having been possessed, and the Jewish mystic who created Chava and turns out to have a centuries-old connection to Ahmad. I found it interesting that the Syrian immigrants were mostly Christian, either Maronite Catholic or Eastern Orthodox, which was apparently accurate for nineteenth-century New York. It’s an engaging story, mixing mythological elements with history and cultural traditions.

This entry was posted in Arabian, Book Reviews, Christianity, Judaism, Mythology, Religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Tale of Supernatural Immigration

  1. marbpl2 says:

    “Chava” is “Eve” in Hebrew.

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