Writer Wednesday- The Golem and the Jinni


It’s time for “Writer Wednesday”, when I discuss another author and his or her book.

When I first heard about Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni, I was intrigued by the premise of two cultures coming together in New York City at the turn of the century. It is true that this is portrayed in the book,
but there’s also much more here. There was a story about the Golem and one about the Jinni, but there were also a host of other characters spanning centuries.

What held these together were two metaphors. Braiding the challah became a task for the Golem. Fadwa, a young Bedouin girl from the Jinni’s native Syria, is a weaver. These two metaphors (one from each culture) show the inter-connective, braided and woven nature, both of the stories and of the characters. 

When viewed individually, the stitches might be fine, but when they come together, a story rises. With the peril that each of the title characters face throughout the book, it is also clear that the fables and traditions of each culture are also in danger of fading in the new life of New York City. It is only through a conscious and diligent effort, like the braiding of the challah or the painstaking weaving of the Bedouin, that these stories will survive. With detailed histories, preservation is required to keep them from beginning to unravel. Helene Wecker, through her use of metaphor, seems to imply exactly this.

My best to you all,

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