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 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.
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.
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.
No, this is the first time I've heard Mr. Guidall's narration but was thoroughly impressed.
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.
Loved it. I strongly recommend this book. Well written. Has enough romance, drama, suspense, mysticism, and very interesting blending of different cultures' myths.
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.
His narration is wonderful and does an extraordinary job of fleshing out the characters and emotions.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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