Audie Award Finalist, Fiction, 2014
Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, 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.
Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their neighbors while masking their true natures. Surrounding them is a community of immigrants: the coffeehouse owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary ice cream maker Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew, Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish men; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the enigmatic Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom.
Meeting by chance, the two creatures become 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 menace will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, threatening their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.
Marvelous and compulsively listenable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
©2013 Helene Wecker (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
I was expecting so much more. boring! there was lots of potential in this book but author never got deep enough into the story about some of.the characters to keep my attention and to bring those character alive. NOT worth reading
Imaginative and intriguing characters one can care for. Twists, turns, loves and hopes. All in all, a most satisfying story read by a consummate narrator.
This was a wonderfully written tale full of surprises and unlikely creatures. I disliked the constant jump between scenes, characters and time periods; It was annoying to have to keep track. I also found I would have liked a bit more relationship development between the Golem and the Jinni, but otherwise, I loved this story and definitely recommend it!
I didn't expect the ending - that is high praise. I adore the myriad of characters, evil and innocence that fleet across the pages. there is depth and flash to this story that draw you in until you feel like you're apart of their reality. The rabbi, God bless him. His nephew, bless his heart.
Those story will strike a chord with anybody still struggling to find their place in this world. Aren't we all!?
This book -- and this narrator -- were absolutely incredible. 100% would suggest consuming it only via audiobook; how the narrator managed the plethora of names, accents, and voices I can't even conceive. The story itself reminded me of my favorite parts of the Count of Monte Cristo, where tiny threads, seemingly inconsequential, are slowly and gracefully woven together with fascinating complexity. The characters are so very real that they don't hesitate to share their pain with you -- this book straight up devoured me so thoroughly that at one point I had to stop and listen to a much lighter book for a while until I had the strength to come back.
That said, when reading this book you'll probably confuse your friends; every time I tried to explain it I found people staring at me like I was crazy. "Oh, gods, and the ICE CREAM SELLER," I'd moan, and they'd scoot uncomfortably away. "She gave him MACAROONS!" I'd cry, and they'd pat my back and wonder if I'd completely lost it. Or I'd moan about aquariums, or silver figurines, or a fountain ...
Honestly, I love this book. It's incredible. Do yourself a favor and use your credit wisely this month: it's well worth it.
I think so, though this was a little plodding, the story was inventive and the descriptions were vivid.
I am not sure whether it was the slow pace of the story development or his style but the experience of listening was slow and laborious.
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