I listen to a lot of podcasts and many of them are sponsored by Audible.com. And because they're sponsored, recommendations are often given to us listeners. It was a suggestion from Mary Robinette Kowal on the Writing Excuses podcast last week that prompted me to pick up Helene Wecker's The Golem and the Jinni. I've never read anything like it.
The story begins in Poland where a man has a golem built to act as his wife to accompany him on his trip to America. He's given specific instructions including the words needed to animate the golem. He's also told not to do this until he arrives in America. Of course, it wouldn't be much of a story if the man obeyed every rule. He animates his bride then dies while at sea. We're left with a very unusual literary character. Not only is she an immigrant and new to the country, she's new to life and has to learn what being alive even means. Luckily for her, she finds someone who knows what she is and because of him, she learns to live in her new world.
The second character is the jinni. He's lived for centuries but finds himself suddenly loosed and in human form in New York City at the turn of the last century. His story is unique as well, a being out of its element. The story deals with how these two cope and experience their new lives.
The two do meet and the situations they find themselves come from from a vivid imagination. The author has the talent to weave their stories into an engaging and compelling tale. While I read the story I kept thinking about how gifted Helene Wecker is. Her book reminded me of the way J.K. Rowling's imagination carried her books.
I haven't read a lot of books recommended to me from podcasts. Maybe I should more often.
* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15819028-the-golem-and-the-jinni?from_search=true&search_version=service