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The Golem and the Jinni Audiobook

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2013 - The Golem and the Jinni delivers the glimpses into the past that make historical fiction so satisfying, combined with the power of well-told fantasy. New York at the dawn of the 20th century is a city teeming with life as newly-arrived immigrants find their footing in an unfamiliar land. This cultural melting pot is manifested in the story's two titular characters: the golem, a figure from Jewish myth, and the jinni, a spirit from Arabian folklore. The two creatures - normally bidden to serve human masters -find themselves unmoored by circumstances and with no one to serve. Their chance meeting begets an unforgettable journey through the lovingly-crafted city, and provides an outsider's perspective on both the mundane and transcendent in the human experience. Even if fantasy isn't normally in your wheelhouse, this incredible premise – paired with George Guidall’s performance - is sure to deliver. —Michael, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (8984 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Katherine Henry 06-15-16 Member Since 2016
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    6
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "solid"

    it was a solid story... but a slow starter. I would recommend it if youre patient.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Harkness Sunriver, OR 06-11-16
    Susan Harkness Sunriver, OR 06-11-16 Member Since 2015
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    5
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "I didn't want it to end."

    This story takes some fairy tales of the past and brings them to life with rich culture, wonderful story telling, fantastic character development and on top of all this? Delightful narration. If you are interested in losing yourself for a few days, by all means..dive in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald 06-08-16
    Donald 06-08-16 Member Since 2016
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    12
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    "excellent book i highly recommend it"

    great book it wasn't big on action but it touches on human nature in every way you wont regret it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Annette Mitchell 06-06-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
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    111
    70
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    ""Wondrous ""

    What a wonderful tale. A captivating story that really pulls you in. Two mythical creatures meet by chance on a cold winter night, each recognizing the other for what they are. This story tells of their origins and what happens to their lives and the people that surround them. Can the Golem overcome her nature and lead a normal life and can the Jinni break his binding and become a less callous creature? I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maxine 05-31-16
    maxine 05-31-16
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    4
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    "Riveting"

    I got this book and it was such an original story beautifully read and I could not turn this off.
    Everyone I know loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Miller SF Bay Area, CA 05-27-16
    Catherine Miller SF Bay Area, CA 05-27-16 Member Since 2015

    Chalet Catherine

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    14
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    "Fabulous! Beautiful writing and characterizations."

    A story that brings you to NY at the turn of the century so well that you can nearly see, taste, touch, and hear all that is described. Masterful use of folklore and the supernatural to explore human themes of culture, free will, otherness, and the meaning/purpose of one's life. Hard to believe this is a debut novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 05-26-16
    Aaron 05-26-16
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    32
    5
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    "wonderful..."

    The character development was superb, a sweet nice story. The narrator was perfect, absolutely could not have been better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Walters 05-23-16
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    5
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    "Slow start but worth sticking with it"

    It took me a month to get through the first third but the rest went quickly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CardioNut 05-22-16
    CardioNut 05-22-16
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    11
    3
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    Story
    "Book 2, please."
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Golem and the Jinni?

    I can't tell you, it'll spoil the story.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Again, spoilers.


    If you could take any character from The Golem and the Jinni out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The Jinni, hands down. Sarcastic, dark, moody. He's dreamy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 05-21-16
    Robert 05-21-16
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    20
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    "Thoughtful, expertly crafted, and well-researched"
    Any additional comments?

    This book surprised me very much. I did not expect it to approach these Hebrew and Arabic mythoses so thoughtfully and with so much intrigue. It's the type of pragmatic fantasy that I like very much. What would it be like for these ancient creatures to live in an 1899 New York City? A mature and very captivating story, meticulously researched. And George Guidall is the perfect voice to narrate. Highly, highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Bibliophile
    Germany
    6/21/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating magical tale"
    What did you like most about The Golem and the Jinni?

    „The Golem and the Jinni“ is one of those rare books that completely draws you into its world. In her first published novel Helene Wecker creates a magical setting, beginning at the turn of the century in Poland and then she brings New York and its inhabitants to life. Combined with old Arabian and Jewish folk tales, she had me hooked until the last page was read – at the same time wishing for a magical book that would never end.

    Two mystical beings live among humans, trying to survive without being notice, blend in but not lose themselves. Chava (= life) is a golem and was created by rabbi in Poland who liked meddling with the dark arts, is “curious and intelligent”, as her master had requested. Ahmad is a fire jinni who was trapped in an old copper flask, released by chance in New York but is still bound by an old spell.

    Both do not really fit into human society and often feel lonely, especially at night when nearly everyone around them is asleep. Surrounding them is a colourful mix of all classes of New York’s society at that time.

    Chava was created to serve, to please her master. Unfortunately he already died on the voyage to New York, or maybe fortunately for her? She herself is never certain, because her unusual intelligence and perceptiveness for human needs put her into a permanent vicious circle. There is one episode when she tries to find out what “money” is, as this must be more important to humans than everything else….

    And this explains one of the reasons why I was so fascinated with this book. It is a moving tale of two outsiders who can never really fit in. Who look at our human society from a totally different angle. Who must make their way in a world totally foreign to them, even more than to all the other immigrants coming to New York. Both are very different from us humans and in some ways not so very different at all. They could live forever – but they want to do so? Chava yearns for a master, the jinni for freedom. She was made of clay, feels cold to the touch, he was created of fire and has a fierce temper, too.

    The other figures show other facets of human life, a kind old rabbi, a vicious magus, a young woman from New York’s high society, a bedouin girl and her father… The tale of each figure is told with utmost sensitivity, letting all of them come to life and stay in my memory for a long time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Some elements reminded me of the books by Deborah Harkness who also expertly lets her magical beings move in our human world, creating characters that seem like real persons after a few chapters.

    “The Golem and the Jinni” is one of the best stories I have read in a long time, with magical and oh so human characters, letting me walk the streets of a long vanished New York and wishing them all the happiness in the world. A magical, moving, sometimes humours tale. I hope Helene Wecker will continue writing and look forward to reading her next novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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