Profile: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
After Action Report:
There’s something timelessly optimistic about ‘coming to america’ stories. Even if we intellectually know that immigrants faced abject poverty, incredible discrimination and the lingering shadows of racial tensions held over from wherever they immigrated from, that sense of hope and of starting a new, better life pervades even the most depressing immigration story. Helene Wecker captures this sense and deftly weaves it into a story of magic and creatures not quite human.
The Golem and the Jinni is really a story about culture shock, told from the perspective of two supernatural creatures who couldn’t possibly be any further from the concept of human culture. Chava, a new golem without a master, has no experiences to draw on other than her instinct to help people and her tireless strength. Ahmad, an enslaved Jinni, was sealed in a bottle for hundreds of years, trapped in human form and brought to New York without his knowledge. For him, America is more a prison than a second chance and he must learn to work for a living and be a part of his community.