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
The book describes a 1899 world in which Golems and Jinnis actually exist. It does a good job at making that interesting and believable, and also paints a good picture of the historical time. It is quite poetic at times.
The main characters are a little shallow, a little flat (the Golem more than the Jinni). I expected to see some sort of spiritual quest, some development in which they learn how to cope with their own nature, some greater significance in their actions, but the story follows more like a sequence of haphazard events, although it does get a little better at the end.
At points the books is too long and slow. I love long books but in this one there were parts in which nothing much was actually happening, to the point that listening to it felt a bit like work.
The narrator performance is very good; he gave very distinct voices to each character and he had this unusual cadence that made his sentences very interesting.
I am still glad I read it but I was expecting a really top-notch book given all the raving reviews.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD:
Even though there is a suggestion all along that the Jinni and the Golem will fall in love, there is no romance chemistry in between them. The only thing they share is being mythical creatures in 1899 New York and they *do* have a lot of *friendship* chemistry, but the idea that they would fall in love was very unconvincing to me.
Fascinating. Well-wriiten. Satisfying.
Too many to list. The book is full of arcane information, good characters, and an excellent plot.
Adventure and suspense please!
I'm a fan of George Guidall as a narrator. This performance was even better than some of his others. The story was an engaging character study with a touch of magic. At its heart it is an unusual and believable love story.
I was skeptical about this book at first but wow I didn't need to be! It is a great story the kind I often look for with a nice dose of the fantastic mixed with a real life timeline. Grab yourself a copy I am sure you will enjoy it!
I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.
This book was narrated well though the reader's voice, at times, seemed awfully slow. I found that the author got into too much extraneous detail which left me feeling bored and, sometimes, lost. The story includes many characters and it was difficult to track who was who. There were parts of this book that I enjoyed very much but then it would wander off into some long and tedious side-story during which time I would get lost and wonder what the heck and who the heck the author was writing about. This book is creative in its use of mystical creatures who live out human lives in the early 20th century of New York City. Overall, there were many good ideas here but the story did not hold my interest throughout and I found myself wishing it would come to an end.
Book of Days
The collision of characters at the end of the book. Brilliantly done.
A believable New York immigrant accent. His narration sounds as if different characters are played by different people.
I found myself as enthralled with this story and its characters as I have when reading some of the great literature classics. It's just that elegant. I can't believe this is a first novel. But then again how incredibly inspiring that it is.
I enjoyed the aspect of the Golem and the Jinni learning to live in the city, their entire line of development as characters and the background information on many side characters was very well done and made this book a nonstop read through... listen through?
For me, it was the proper pronunciation of names and places. Many times I have read a series only to get to see a movie or listen to an audio version and find out I had mispronounced many peoples name.
Attention to detail is a very big strong point of this authors style, so if you are looking for a book you could literally sink your teeth into, then try it!
The author paced the novel in such a way that, like upon finishing the the first course of a delicious 7-course meal, was satisfying but left enough of an appetite that I eagerly anticipated the next course.
"You can read minds?" Quickly she shook her head. "Nothing as certain as that. Fears, desires. Needs. If I'm not careful, they can overwhelm me..."
With perfect tone and dialect, he narrates each character voice with an exquisite and exotic beauty that hypnotizes the listener transporting them into the story itself; an unseen witness standing just outside its pages yet close enough to experience the events as they unfold.
The Golem, because in so many ways her character parallels human nature at its finest on one end of the spectrum and at its most terrifying on the other.
By far this is the best novel I have listened/read since Stephen King's novel "Carrie" back in 1983! However, I'm not comparing similarities between the two novels (they're more different than they are alike), but about who I consider to be "Game Changing". authors. Stephen King, (a Trailblazing Novelist) broadened the previous perception of the narrowly-defined, Horror genre by giving it an "Extreme Genre Makeover". His introductory novels "Carrie" and "The Shining" are popularly considered to be the catalyst that ultimately changed the demographic of the Horror-genre audience. His writing expanded and took Horrorbin a whole new direction and transformed it making it appealing to its faithful but small, niche-market and now the newly-won over mass-market. In the same way I believe Helene Wecker has the potential to become the next Trailblazing author starting with her first novel "The Golem and the Jinni". It just may be the springboard that helps expand the horizons of a little-known genre I'd categorize as "Urban-Fantasy".
This was such a great story with 4 main characters whose lives intermingled and effected one another in the most entertaining way . . . suspenseful but not overdone. This was a great listen.
The Jinni creates something in the story that is a visual marvel--- in listening to the story, his creation seemed real to me. Awesome.
The narrator did a terrific job of distinguishing the voices without overdoing it. The accents were there enough to separate the speakers, but no so much to intrude on the story. He really brought the book to life.
The Jinni would be the one you'd take out for a fun night, the Golem if you were in a deep, introspective mood.
This book is incredibly entertaining. I cared about the characters and wanted the best for them. Now that the story is over, I still want to know what they're up to and how things are going. . .
I've "read" books since my early years and only once in a while comes a book so good, so entertaining that I would add it to my top 10 of all time and this is one. Wow. Certainly among the most creative narratives I've enjoyed. This may the first review I've written since I began on Audible years ago and I confidently say you will absolutely not be disappointed.
The interaction among the characters and cultures portrayed draws you into a world that at once existed in the early 1900s of NYC and one that never existed except in Ms Weckers imaginative mind.
Both the Jinni and the Golem are extraordinary creatures with human attributes.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content