Tomorrow marks the publication of Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni, an engrossing and atmospheric new novel from HarperCollins. I had the pleasure of interviewing Helene on camera a few months back, and clips of that interview are now available. Impressively, Wecker combines creatures from two different folk traditions—the golem, made of clay and tied to its master, from Jewish folklore, and the jinni, made of fire and decidedly free-spirited, from Arabic folklore—and has them meet on the streets of 1899 New York.
Just as impressively, Wecker has written a novel of ideas, touching on issues from faith to free will, that’s also as entertaining as the fantasies she herself enjoys reading. The issues we discussed range from putting oneself into the minds of such different characters to finding a meeting place for passion and practicality. And did you know that there really was a Little Syria in old-time New York? Wecker is getting good press, and the galleys certainly flew out the door at ALA Midwinter. Take a look at the clips; you’re sure to enjoy.