Thursday, February 7, 2013

Books I Want: The Golem and the Jinni, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

It's been far too long since I discussed books here. Not working in a bookstore anymore, I don't have ready access to advance copies, and I don't get to be the first to trace jagged pages, hear the creak as I fold back the cover, smell the fresh ink buried within. I miss that part of my retail work.

Luckily, Publishers Weekly posts the Most Anticipated Books of the season, so I at least get to see a limited selection of the wonder to come. It's better than being entirely removed from books most of the time.

I saw two on that list from PW that really caught my eye. One is The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker.


This is the story of immigrants to the U.S. - supernatural immigrants. The golem comes from Yiddish folktales, and the jinni from Arabic. They wind up in New York at the turn of the century - sorry, the 20th century. (It feels weird to have to specify that.) Both are trying to avoid being discovered for what they truly are, taking commonplace work to better blend in. The golem's master has died, and the jinni is, of course, a prisoner. The two form a strange friendship when they meet.

Reviews have compared this book to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (another book I want), and it strikes me as very similar to American Gods by Neil Gaiman. And speaking of him...


His new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, is his first for adults in quite a while. I'm a bit apprehensive about this one; yes, I love his style dearly, but last time I read him, it felt almost like deja vu. I've read so much of his work that his stories feel almost predictable, as if I've learned the secrets of his style. (Which is not to say I could imitate it - those are entirely different animals.)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane features a car, a man, and three women who live near him, who much resemble the Fates. I really know little else about the book - dark forces gathering, an ocean of course, and probably some self-discovery. It's difficult to find any actual reviews or synopses of the book, aside from the dust jacket summary. But there is a tidbit from the author himself here, along with illustrations by Dave McKean (shocker) for a special edition of the book.

Lastly, can I just say I'm tired of covers that feature dead or dying girls on the cover?

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