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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 (5861 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Randerson Tejas 05-08-15
    Randerson Tejas 05-08-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    25
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    "What a storyteller"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Golem and the Jinni to be better than the print version?

    Didn't read the printed version.


    What other book might you compare The Golem and the Jinni to and why?

    A very unique story.


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

    George Guidall is one of my favorite readers. Superb!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Golem and the Jinni and why?

    Both the Golem and the Jinni were unique in their own ways. A masterful use of characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Ending was a bit anticlimactic but still enjoyable, a very unusual love store.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew E DuPriest 05-07-15 Member Since 2011
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    12
    3
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    "Lovely reading steeped in culture"

    I was skeptical from the outset because of the subject matter, but the magic takes a backseat to character studies and the complex relationships between men and women in the era.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Avidreader 05-05-15
    Avidreader 05-05-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    Story
    "Enthralling"

    This will likely be my favorite book of 2015. Pure escapism with much to ponder. Can't wait for her next book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seeker 05-05-15
    Seeker 05-05-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Good Story But Got Lost In Details"

    The overall story was good but not great. I didnt come away with any memorable under lying moral to the story but it was still entertaining. part of the issue could be because I got lost in what seemed to be too many details not pertinent to the story. I had to rewind several times throughout as I often lost interest and had to force myself to try to focus through the unnecessary details in order to follow the storyline. The narrator was excellent and did a good job of differentiating the different characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen 05-05-15
    Karen 05-05-15 Member Since 2013
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    2
    2
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    "Unexpectly delightful."

    So very glad to have this book in my library. I will definitely listen to it again soon. It was that good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leowahine 05-02-15
    Leowahine 05-02-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "I wonder..."

    All through this listen, I kept asking myself if this was a translation of an existing story or if someone just decided to make a few $$ expanding an old tale from the 1001 nights or some such. While it was a GREAT reading by George, (hehe), I couldn't shake the feeling that this was just a re-write. Still, you can't go wrong with the vocal expressions of George Guidall! I LOVE his voice. After a bit, it was only his voice kept me listening.

    HOWEVER(!), the story wasn't very original, and I seriously hated the ending. I don't like the fact that I've spent a hard won credit on a children's tale that was taken almost fully from an alladin story. If you've read any of the 1001 nights tales or alladin, you could probably pass on this book and not even feel left out of any discussions that happen to pop up with friends. Sorry to say it: having George read this was GREAT marketing strategy but it didn't make the story anything to write home about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Catlano 05-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    32
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    "So-So"

    Nice character depth but this book would have been so much better served if something happened. It just need more to get considered great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Temple? 05-01-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Great performance!"

    This book is mesmerizing! The reader is very talented and it makes you feel like you are there and watching the events unfold. I wanted to hear it none stop! Now I miss all the characters. Is a must read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 04-30-15
    Richard 04-30-15

    seymour smith

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "slow and made slower by the narrator"
    What did you like best about The Golem and the Jinni? What did you like least?

    The idea of the story was interesting, and the picture of immigrant life in the early part of the 20th century was enjoyable.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of George Guidall?

    I don't know, but I can't stand this narrator. He's so slow, his characters differ little from each other. He's taken a slowly plodding book and made it even slower.


    Was The Golem and the Jinni worth the listening time?

    I frankly only finished 2/3 of it - mainly because I was out of credits and didn't want to buy another book. I don't recommend it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelley Chatsworth CA 04-29-15
    Shelley Chatsworth CA 04-29-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    266
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    "Absolutely Wonderful!"

    What an extraordinary first novel! I was transfixed by this sweeping turn-of-the-century story of immigrants, New York, Jewish and Arabic folklore, fantasy and romance.
    So many other reviewers here have described this gem better than I, but all I can say how much I loved every bit of this book and I didn't want it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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