If you were bewitched by The Night Circus… If you were mesmerised by A Discovery of Witches… If you were enthralled by Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell… You will be enchanted by The Golem and the Djinni.
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.
Ahmad is a djinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free - an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.The Golem and The Djinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures - until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
©2013 Helene Wecker (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
”Set against the vivid backdrop of New York City’s immigrant neighborhoods in the late 19th century, Helene Wecker’s tale of two fabled creatures has the intimate feel of a story handed down from generation to generation” (Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches)
”The author makes you care enough about the humanity of these magical spirits to not only see them through to the end but also to regret that you’ve reached the last page” (New York Times)
”A continuous delight — provocative, atmospheric, and superbly paced” (Boston Globe)
”The Golem and The Djinni are among my favourite fictional people” (Washington Post)
This book kept me up at night, as it was so gripping I couldnt stop listening. How I wish there was a sequel, as Im still hung over on the characters.
The djinni and the golem were both mysterious in their own way, making you want to know them in every detail
Once in many years does a gem such as the Golem & the Djinni come to light.
It is magical, moody & atmospheric, I did not want it to end, the author is very gifted her story line rare I trust that she writes more novels in the same vain, the book was exceptional.
"Kept me enthralled until the end"
There are some books that I think are ok and I sometimes listen to them on my commute to work and some I can't wait to get back to because I am desperate to know what happens next. This book is most definitely in the latter category. Never mind the commute, I listened to it at home, on the train and in the car and managed the full 18 hours or so within a month. I have always loved Arabian Nights type stories with Djinn so stretching my imagination to include a Golem was not too difficult. The only negative thing I can say about it was I got a bit lost with the Djinni ' s story of what was the past and what was the present but it all fit together at the end. I have a very visual imagination and saw and felt it all. Loved it!!
"A Magical Journey From Desert To Manhattan"
A superbly written slow-burning novel of immense scope that explores what it means to be human through two creatures who are anything but.
Encompassing Judaic and Middle-Eastern folk-lore and traditions, and set in 1899/1900s Manhattan, it is a tale that will have you reluctant to take your headphones off. I found myself sitting in the car, listening, when I should have been in work and having to stay on longer at the office to compensate.
Superbly and sympathetically read by George Guidall, I heartily recommend this audiobook to anyone looking for something a little mystical. If you enjoyed books like 'American Gods' and 'The Night Circus' you will love 'The Golem And The Djinni'. I did and am looking forward to listening to it all over again.
The Golum and Djinni is within my top ten audio books. I on occasion select a book simply by the interesting title. In this case I really struck gold. By allegory this book succeeds in exploring several human conditions through none human characters. I felt that the experience of being an immigrant, an outsider, and a misfit were very well expressed within a story that has many twists and turns that delight the reader because so often they are not entirely expected
The strength of the book really lies with the two central characters the Dijinni and the Golum. The two strongly represent two often opposing cultures in a gentle and all to human way.
Generally I do not write reviews many of te books I have read simply do not warrent one. This book while completing the story left me wanting more about the lives of these two creatures and where time and life lead them to.
"Original and engaging"
Brilliant lead characters who are unusual misfits. The narrator gives an excellent performance and is easy to listen too. Set in New York the heroic lead characters are outsiders and a subplot explores what it is to be different. It is really a fairy story come to life though, touching and very enjoyable. Off to look for more from the same author.
the story is entirely engaging and the narrator is absorbing. I couldn't 'put it down'. I can't
wait for the next novel.
"Highly Award- Deserving Masterpiece"
Like me, you will kick yourself for not having read this book upon its release. The title is simple enough, offering no more than a simple tale of a golem and gjinni - and really, there is nothing much or authentic that can be told, or can there? The persuasive and tantalizing fact going for this book is that it was critically acclaimed, nominated for the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award and, won the 2014 Mythopoeic Award. Wondering what the fuss was, I finally bought the book and found it to be surprisingly intriguing and gripping throughout!
I did indeed found that the story displayed much authenticity in the way it wove in elements of history and fantasy, culture, and religion, different geographical places and complex characters with a well developed plot at its epicentre. The story offers multi-dimensional insight into and tests the boundaries of strongly held beliefs, customs and stigmas along lines of race, religion, sex and culture. It also portrays the fallacies of (human) traits such as selfishness, arrogance, kindness, honesty, morality, immortality, piety, curiosity, etc which often can be confounded, producing unintended consequences. The story as a whole really is quite believable and even where logic dispels belief, one cannot help viewing the story as an allegory, a reflection of the fact that today's society or world is divided by the very boundaries and issues highlighted in this story/book.
One complaint may be that the book is too long and moves at a relatively slow pace throughout. I however, appreciated the length of the book insofar as it allowed for well developed characters and storylines/plot. I also found the narration was brilliant and on point with regard to the different characters and their nationality or culture. This book receives a 5-STAR award from me!!
"Loved this story"
I didn't want it to end. Very exciting well constructed story with a satisfying ending.
This is a wonderfully, unusual and complex story. One of those where the content is completely unique. It has a melancholy which encompasses a whole box of sadness and dashed happiness. There is a great history that surrounds both of the characters and you can feel the utter sadness and self destructive nature of the Golem, who is totally unable to do anything about her unpredictable personality. The Djinni on the other hand deals with his sadness quite differently and that they both come together in the most improbable manner that they do is what makes this story unique. George Guidall has the perfect voice and probably adds to the whole ambience of the tale which ends as sadly as it begins but it is not a sadness you want to deny yourself. One of the best stories I have read for some time and I would highly recommend it – worth every penny – enjoy.
I’ve been listening to audiobooks very seldom this year, and only during the past month have I been remedying that in earnest. I tried both of Ernest Cline’s sci-fi romps, but didn’t really feel they took me anywhere special.
Then I found Helene Wecker’s beautiful debut, ”The Golem and the Djinni”. The most appropriate match, since I’ve been enjoying every page of the mammoth three-volume ”The Arabian Nights” by Penguin Classics. Both of these share a similar world full of magic, mystery, profundity, love, yearning, death, happiness, and the bitter in the sweet. In short, everything.
I’ve read some of Scholem’s work on Kabbalah, and of course I’ve seen my share of films and read enough books to recognize its influence on Western storytelling. By no means can I count myself as an expert on the subject matter. But no matter, since Wecker guides the narrative lucidly enough so that while some background knowledge enriches the work, the enjoyment doesn’t depend on it. Indeed, Wecker’s writing is immensely beautiful but it gazes forward; descriptive yet minimalist, even. The ideas behind the book and its structure are complex, but she’s able to navigate the material so masterly that it all reads so effortlessly. She has the gift to conjure up magical things in few words, very appropriate considering the subject matter. I can only imagine the work put into polishing it to such degree. Certainly a very ambitious work for a debut novel, and I eagerly wait for the sequel, and whatever path the author wishes to tread in the future.
If the book itself is absolute joy, George Guidall’s narration is the only way to match such magical storytelling. He’s immense, and I couldn’t imagine certain characters existing, speaking or thinking without his voice. The perfidious Yehudah Schaalman, the pliant golem, the plaintive Michael, the impatient and proud djinni, the weary Avram Meyer, all impeccably brought to life. I had to get more Guidall, so now I’m into Franzen’s unabridged ”The Corrections”, after which there are Pynchon’s ”Gravity’s Rainbow” and Eco’s ”Baudolino” to look forward to.
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