The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecke

The narrator only uses “the golem” and “the jinni,” with the adopted names only used by other characters. What effect does this have on the reader? Do the titles become their own names, or do the creatures remain more creature-ish because of this?

Both the Golem & the Jinni live in immigrant populations. How do their stories illuminate the immigrant experience in America? How does religion or the lack thereof influence this experience? How does this experience affect other characters in the book?

Do you feel that the Golem ever develops her own personality beyond the one given to her? Are personalities changeable or do we just deal with the personality we are given? On pg. 494, the uncle surmises that Chava had to be given some free will in order to be given speech. Why is that? The Jinni is frequently “compelled” to do something. Is there much free will in this book, or do the characters all move in ways they are programmed to behave, whether by construction or by nature?

There’s a bird the Golem meets right before she meets the rabbi (pg. 49). And then the Jinni gives her a bird charm. What does the bird symbolize for her?

On page 216, the jinni declares that there’s no point for sex for him, and he doesn’t seem to experience lust like a human man would. So why does he seduce Sophia and Fadwa? What does he get out of the experience?

Why do you think Chava came alive at the park (pg. 370)? What is she responding to there?

Did you like the Jinni? On pgs. 421, 355 & 512, the Jinni is described as having gestures that resemble human gestures. Is this showing us a change in the Jinni or just some essential characteristic of his? What about him is human-like and what seems distinctively jinni? Besides caring for someone other than himself, are there any other changes we see in the Jinni? What does his artwork say about him (see pg. 544)?

The statue in the Central Park is continually referred to as the Angel of Death. Is there any meaning for this statue at the end of the book, or was this reference just a twist for the plot? Does this have anything to do with the statue-like quality of the Golem?

On pg. 430, Schaalman describes the Lower East Side as a taste of Hell. What about the place is reminiscent of Hell? What do the Golem and the Jinni like and dislike about the city? How does their personality figure into their tastes?

The word pinprick is used a lot. Why does this word signify so much? Look at these pages:  134, 169, 190, 420, 437, 633.

In what ways does reality prove evasive for so many characters? What is reality for these people? Does being nonhuman or possessed change reality or only change the person who experience it?

What is magic in this book, and how is it connected with religion? Is there one true religion for this book? Could these creatures exist without gods? Can you be a true atheist in the book?

2 thoughts on “The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecke

  1. Pingback: Review & Discussion Questions on The Golem and the Jinni – wendy reads books

  2. Pingback: Review of The Golem and the Jinni – wendy reads books

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