LOCAL>> Helene Wecker – The Hidden Palace
Author discusses her new magical/historical novel
Featured Book: The Hidden Palace: A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni
Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, able to hear the thoughts and longings of the people around her and compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a perpetually restless and free-spirited creature of fire, imprisoned in the shape of a man.
Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and pretend to be human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Having encountered each other under calamitous circumstances, Chava and Ahmad’s lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.
Each has unwittingly affected the humans around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe.
Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector.
Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?
Helene Wecker’s debut novel THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI (Harper, 2013) was awarded the Mythopoeic Award, the VCU Cabell Award, and the Harald U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula and World Fantasy Award. The novel was chosen as an Amazon Editor Top 20 Pick, an Amazon Spotlight Debut, an Indie Next Pick, one of Entertainment Weekly’s top Ten Works of Fiction for the year, Audible’s Top Debut Novel Audiobook of the Year, and featured in Buzzfeed’s and Kirkus Reviews’ best books of the year features as well as many other national outlets. Her work has appeared in Joyland, Catamaran, and in the anthology THE DJINN FALLS IN LOVE AND OTHER STORIES.
A Midwest native, Wecker holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University. She lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and children.
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