The Golem and the Jinni
is a magical tale about two mythical creatures that cross paths in New York City at the turn of the last century. Recognizing each other as someone outside of humanity – alone and lonely without a sense of community or someone who truly understands them – the two become friends. And, as in the best friendships, they interact in ways that bring out the better natures of each. During the course of the novel, first-time author Helene Wecker leads her readers to ponder such weighty subjects as what it means to be human, the importance of friends, and the place of religion in society.
I have to admit I found this novel a disappointment (and I do realize I'm in the minority in my opinion; many people seem to think it's a delight). I didn't hate it, but it's not one I can wholeheartedly recommend with a clear conscience.
Beyond the Book
Most Westerners are generally introduced to genies through the story of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights
(aka The Arabian Nights). In it, Aladdin is tricked into obtaining an old oil lamp in which a jinni has been imprisoned. Through various twists and turns in the story, the jinni is released from his confinement and eventually helps Aladdin obtain his greatest wishes: wealth, fame, and the love of a beautiful princess.
The English word for these beings – genie...