I still think this is an absolutely lovely portrayal of the immigrant experience, both in the way it portrays actual historical immigrant communities (particularly Little Syria and the Jewish communities in NYC) and in the way that Wecker uses the outsized fantastical experiences of the golem and the jinni (Chava and Ahmad, as they become in their new world) to represent that experience more metaphorically. They are the ultimate strangers in a strange land. It’s also just a fun story to tell and to read! The story of two magical creatures immigrating to America, neither by choice, and how they found each other.
The little details really set this apart, and I found myself once again being sucked entirely into the world Wecker has created. She has such a good storytelling instinct, and her writing brings such a human experience to the story. Her villain is also compelling because he remains human in his monstrosity. I also loved the way she do deftly portrays the multicultural aspect of NYC, how so many different people can live in the same place and still seem to live worlds apart.
I started the sequel this morning, and so far so good, and I’m hoping it can live up to this little masterpiece. (I’m still angry the new book doesn’t have the dyed pages and thick binding the first book did. The new one feels more cheaply made. This first book remains one of the prettiest books I’ve ever owned.)