Neat story about identity and community

I liked this: a reviewer compared it to the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and I thought it did have a similar atmosphere: a strong sense of place and history, and a strong interest in the communities of the time: the Golem of the title finds her way to New York and finds a rabbi as a guardian, and the Djinni ends up living with a Syrian tinsmith, and these two outsiders to America slowly find their way to fitting in their respective immigrant communities.

Helene Wecker writes about little communities where everyone knows one another with a kind of fondness that makes me wonder if she grew up in one - as the child of a little village where everyone knew one another, a bunch of those details seem spot on. A lot of the other details are about those particular communities and that particular place and the turn-of-the-century setting, and those were all new and fun and interesting to read about.

The plot driving the story ticked along at a pace I found a little predictable, but never tedious. The characters in themselves were engaging enough it didn't really bother me. Besides, in something like this that's more or less a modern fairytale, it seems almost appropriate that you can see all the turns in the plot coming. All in all, a thoroughly charming novel.

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