It’s the final months of World War II and Georgina Carter, a single woman in her late forties with a drab job in the Censorship office, is convinced that “nothing very shattering, nothing very devastating could happen to one after that age.” But then she buys some wood blocks from a blitzed roadway, one of which, when burned in her fireplace, releases a long-imprisoned Ifrit (don’t call him a genie) eager to do her bidding. Nicknamed Joe, he zaps in exotic foods and luxurious decor, and takes her on a dizzying hurtle through space to visit a beloved nephew in Canada. Then an old flame visits and Joe senses possibilities…
This delightful 1945 novel, alongside its fantasy elements, depicts the mood of the later war years, with bombed out buildings, dirt, cravings for impossible-to-find foods, and the surliness and fatigue of many Londoners – but all are considerably enlivened by an energetic, well-meaning, but slightly overly-enthusiastic Ifrit.
Dean Street Press, 9781913054311