I find connections among books, art, music, libraries, travel, crafts and food.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Book a Week 2014: Made, Altered, Repaired, or Reviewed. Week 11

Week of 17 March
Book Review:
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

   Wow, I couldn't put this down till the very end. This is a beautiful, smart, intriguing tale blending Jewish and Arab folk mythology. It was well researched, historically accurate and kept me wanting page after page. I found this book, as I find most books, by shelving the reserves at the library. I get to see what is new, what is popular, and what looks interesting. I am drawn to mythical characters, historical fiction, and I liked the setting of New York in the early 1900's. I was so taken with the book, that I didn't read reviews of it until I finished. NYTimes review and good old Good Reads both liked it as well.
   I also noticed that the author, Helene Wecker, is a graduate of Carleton College in Northfield, MN. I was the Music Collections Curator at Carleton for a few years, and I like to see Carls being creative.
   The book cover is lovely and mysterious, the lettering perfectly mythical. I like how the friendship between the two outsiders develops and grows. I don't remember where I had read about golems, but this is the image I had of them:
Basically, a blob of clay. The author literally and figuratively fleshes out a developing character. The man who wanted her created as his wife asked that she be given curiosity, an unexpected trait in a wife made of clay. The Golem learns and assimilates and grows because of her curiosity. The Golem, named Chava, figured out what her skills were and how she could use them to fit into her neighborhood in New York City. She also used her skills to make friends and form a life.

   I thought the Jinni's history was fascinating. I liked how all the stories intertwined. The details of the oil lamp made me want to know more about the art of creating lamps and pots, and how they can be repaired.

   I highly recommend this book!!!

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