You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Books

Book Review

‘The Golem and the Jinni’ by Helene Wecker

Two supernatural beings — a Golem, a woman of clay, conjured up by a disgraced rabbi who engages in dangerous Kabbalistic arts, and a Jinni, a shape-shifting fire creature born in the Syrian desert in the seventh century, are drawn together on the streets of New York in 1899. It sounds far-fetched. But in her first novel, “The Golem and the Jinni,” a blend of historic fiction and fantasy with a dash of sci-fi and a sprinkling of philosophical discourse about faith and free will, Helene Wecker makes it work.

One of the wonders of the book is Wecker’s elegant structure, which sets up plot reflections and echoes of themes as she follows the Golem and the Jinni, both inspired by folklore, backward and forward in time, and fits the two into unexpected patterns with the other characters in the novel.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week