First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
- Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
- Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
- Finally… reveal the book!
The book I decided to spotlight this weeks post on is one that has been on my TBR for an age, but when I was writing my Top 5 Saturday post for tomorrow it came up and I wondered why I hadn’t picked it up already. Full of Yiddish and Middle Eastern folklore and historical fiction, I have read some top notch review for it and will definitely be bumping it up my TBR.
The Golem’s life began in the hold of a steamship. The year was 1899; the ship was the Baltika, crossing from Danzig to New York. The Golem’s master, a man named Otto Retfeld, had smuggled her aboard in a crate and hidden her among the luggage.
I mean, i’m already intrigued, I don’t know about you. And if this wasn’t already on my TBR I would definitely be adding it. Ready to find out what it is?
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
This sounds like it would be a beautiful story and I can’t wait to start reading. Have you read this? Or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.