THE GOLEM AND THE DJINNI – a masterpiece of fantasy literature

Unforgettable images shimmer from the pages of The Golem and the Djinni. A palace of glass and gold glittering in the Syrian desert. The bustle and heartbeat of New York in 1899, populated with a cast of intriguing characters, two of them creatures of magic. Chava is a golem crafted by a rogue rabbi, her intended master dead and buried at sea, she is free to do as she wills. Ahmad is a djinni, a spirit of fire and of the desert, trapped in human form by a bracelet of iron. Both must confront the same question; what is the price of freedom when you have been created only to serve the will of others? Around this theme Helene Wecker’s debut novel crafts an unforgettable fantasy story. The Golem and the Djinni takes us deep in to the immigrant experience of 19th century America, and the contrasting cultures of Judaism and Islam that meet there. But the grand themes never overwhelm the human story that Wecker weaves from the lives of two quite inhuman characters. Comparisons with Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell come easily, but Weckers novel achieves a depth of meaning and human emotion that Clarke’s work never truly touched. The Golem and the Djinni is a masterpiece of fantasy literature that readers will discover with joy for many years to come.

Originally published in SFX magazine.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

2 thoughts on “THE GOLEM AND THE DJINNI – a masterpiece of fantasy literature

  1. I wonder if its immortality would be better served if it permanently “escapes” into the mainstream. Although its silly, the genre/literary fiction divide still weighs on my mind.



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