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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 (2792 )
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4.5 (2570 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    jane staten island, NY, United States 10-30-13
    jane staten island, NY, United States 10-30-13 Member Since 2008

    Avid reader 5 to 10 books a month. I like urban fantasy and Sci-Fi the most. I do enjoy a bio every now and then.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NYC Supernatural Immigrants"

    This book is very different. A bit hard to stick with at first but worth the effort. It follows the lives of a Golum ( clay person who comes to life) and a Geni. Though a lot of hardships their paths cross and they help each other overcome the obstacles that threaten them. Great history of NYC, makes you feel like you were there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sudi 10-28-13
    Sudi 10-28-13

    Coffee-UFOs-Cats-Books-Halloween

    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    25
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    "Magical Mythological Creatures"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Highly recommended. The writing gives multi-faceted layers to the characters. You have to know enough intimacies about the lead actors to care about their fates. Wecker does this very well.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Well, that's a coin toss between the Golem and the Jenni.


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

    No, I haven't listened to George Guidall before. But in this reading, he admirably colors the voices with just the right tinge of an accent -- and most Americans (thanks to Hollywood,) expect their foreign born characters to have an certain lilt to their English. (Even when, in the story line, they are supposed to be speaking their native language, it sorta has to be read with the accent to give the English reading a little more flavor and to keep the environment at an appropriate level of the exotic. George Guidall does this really well.) Mr. Guidall also reads the women's parts without the simper that some male narrators seem to lean on in order to distinguish the feminine voices.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This book didn't automatically engage me on that level. That is not a fault, however.


    Any additional comments?

    Isaac Beshevis Singer would have enjoyed reading this book, I think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 10-18-13
    Amazon Customer PARIS, TX, United States 10-18-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a surprise!"

    Surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Fantasy, historical, cultural, and I really cared about the characters, plus magically well written. Great summer read, highly recommend. I'd rate 4.5 if I could.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine 10-16-13
    Elaine 10-16-13

    I did not learn to read until I was in my twenties. Have not stopped since. The two most important things to learn are reading & chess.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun!"

    This is a wonderful fantasy and beautiful story. Very well written and narrated. I am looking for to Wecker's next book. I hope it is a continuation of the two main characters in the this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie A. Smith 10-13-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    7
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    Story
    "Whimsical and Engaging"

    A gem of a story! I was thoroughly captivated the moment I started listening. The characters were interesting, and the protagonists were extremely likeable despite their many flaws. George Guidall's interpretation is masterful. I would listen to this book again and again and believe I would enjoy it more each time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Novel Girl 10-04-13
    Novel Girl 10-04-13 Member Since 2011

    I like Fantasy novels :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Magical, yet simultaneously down to Earth."

    Well developed characters, interesting and relaxed story-telling, with much insight into human nature. The story unfolds within rich and realistic contexts that, although are 100 years in the past, feel very much present and alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oliver Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 09-30-13
    Oliver Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 09-30-13 Member Since 2011
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    "East Meets East Meets West"

    It's just a near perfect novel, from bringing turn-of-the-century New York to life to memorable characters and set-pieces.

    The ending isn't much of a surprise if you're at all familiar with Jinni stories but the satisfaction worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Gulf Coast 09-27-13
    Diane Gulf Coast 09-27-13 Member Since 2011

    Diane

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well this was different!"

    Went with this based off of the many favorable reviews....not a fast paced story by any means, but hung in there even though it was not an "in your face" attention grabber, it was a good story and I enjoyed it. My first George Guidall narration...enjoyed him also.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela United States 09-24-13
    Angela United States 09-24-13 Member Since 2012

    "There's no limit to the amount of good you can do as long as you don't care who gets the credit"~Dad

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpectedly great"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Golem and the Jinni to be better than the print version?

    I don't know I haven't read the print version.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Golem and the Jinni?

    The dance scene.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The very end.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The whole book moved me.


    Any additional comments?

    I was not impressed by the name of this book but I had seen so make 5 star reviews that I was curious. The book was excellent. I don't often reread books but I am going to buy the print copy now that I've listened to it and read it again. Some reviews have said there was not enough romance in the book but I think the love story far outshines any romance that could have been injected. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jayce 09-19-13
    Jayce 09-19-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A wonderful read!"

    There is so much depth in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was unpredictable, unlike most other historical novels I have been reading lately that are most young adult in style even-though they are meant for adults.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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