Diary of a Djinn by Gini Alhadeff

The all-knowing djinn of ancient lore can adopt many forms, but there are times when it chooses the limits of one body, one life. In this bewitching first novel, a djinn takes up residence in a restlessly brilliant woman, guiding her choices in life and love as she chases the satisfaction that eludes her—from a cloistered Florentine boarding school to the glamour of a Milan fashion house to a life beyond her means in 1990s Manhattan. She is as skilled at observing the worlds she moves through as her djinn is skilled at observing her, but an ever-growing self-awareness does not help her to realize her heart’s desires. That is, until the wise djinn puts her in the path of the Princess: imperious octogenarian and mother of a man she can never fully possess. With Diary of Djinn, Alhadeff has given us a novel of playful intelligence and insight, and a poignant testimony to love’s unpredictable unfolding.

"Gini Alhadeff's novel is delicate, secretive, incisive, and very witty—a pleasure to read."

Susan Sontag

"Gini Alhadeff’s great subject is, to paraphrase Peter Handke, the innerlife of the outerlife of the innerlife. In this ravishing first novel—a work of modern wisdom literature—those spheres revolve in prose as limpid (and addictive) as ether. Alhadeff meditates, sometimes wickedly, on worldly affairs—sex, fashion, real estate, wanderlust, high life, lowlife, and true love—but her real questions are: whose body is this? How does one achieve self-possession? It's the best kind of suspense story, and the suspense is spiritual."

Judith Thurman