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The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel | [Helene Wecker]

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

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.
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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

4.3 (5682 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Silje 05-25-15
    Silje 05-25-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "Wonderfull"

    I was captured and bound to this story from the first syllable. What amazing storytelling!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-22-15
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-22-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    198
    9
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    "kinda boring"

    I like the narrator and have listened to him before. I am so disappointed in this story. I just couldn't care very much about the characters. It was endless here and there. Having listened to 66% of the book, if there is a point, it's too late for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ames 05-22-15
    Ames 05-22-15
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    144
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    Story
    "A sweet story"

    It took a few chapters to warm up to, but I eventually fell in love the characters. Great narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Customer 05-19-15
    A Customer 05-19-15 Member Since 2014
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    REVIEWS
    7
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Among the best stories I've ever heard"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story was incredibly unique. I honestly marveled at how well the author was able to weave together so many different story lines simultaneously and then bring them together so artfully. Her research that went into the story must have been fairly exhaustive.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Probably the Golem, Ahmad with Chava, the Golem as a close second. Watching them figure out humanity and their role in the world was really a treat.


    Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, this is the first time I've heard Mr. Guidall's narration but was thoroughly impressed.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book. It's got a fantastic blend of many different themes. It's one of those rare books that sticks with you long after you're done with it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    neoanachronism 05-18-15
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    "Strongly recommend"

    Loved it. I strongly recommend this book. Well written. Has enough romance, drama, suspense, mysticism, and very interesting blending of different cultures' myths.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven mill valley, CA, United States 05-17-15
    Steven mill valley, CA, United States 05-17-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Not your typical fantasy"
    Where does The Golem and the Jinni rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Middling. The story was slow in some areas but I have to give the author many kudos for not following the usual formula for books of a fantastical nature. The story is unique and the characters engaging. The backgrounds of the characters and their culture are well thought out and researched.


    Would you recommend The Golem and the Jinni to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His narration is wonderful and does an extraordinary job of fleshing out the characters and emotions.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Burke Grenfell 05-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    15
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    "Excellent and Charming"

    An immigrant tale set in 1900's NewYork. Two decent people, the Golem and the Jinni, trying to make their way. One in the Jewish community, the other in the Arab community. The first half is very charming. Where the characters came from, and developing the mythos, is a wonderful experience. It had me looking for all of her previous works. (None found). The characters natures set them on difficult paths, and the story changes from magical to page flipping concern over what the future holds for the characters an members of their adopted communities.

    Read very well. I am buying a hard cover copy to lend to friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eljaycee 05-17-15
    Eljaycee 05-17-15 Member Since 2015
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    "George Guidall is a joy"

    This book held my interest for two reasons: it's story is unconventional and unpredictable, but mostly because the narrator is so excellent. He doesn't read the story to you. He "tells" it to you and draws you in with his accents and expressive telling. I believe he could make the telephone directory interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    El Comono 05-17-15
    El Comono 05-17-15
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    "Unique!"

    What an enjoyable story. Such an interesting tale! Some hopping about from one scene to another without chapter breaks but that seems to go with the tenor of the story. We recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rich Sonora, CA, United States 05-16-15
    Rich Sonora, CA, United States 05-16-15 Member Since 2011
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    "A magical story in old New York"

    A very enjoyable imagining that masterfully weaves a tale of an older New York with its rich middle eastern immigrants lives and two magical beings from those cultures. A wonderful story, well written and performed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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