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
This book is a very good story invoking novels such as American Gods which is one of my favorites. The thing I don't like about this however is the book seems to devolve into a love story which I find completely unnecessary. Other that that though it's a great book and I would suggest to anyone.
Absolutely loved the story and the narration. I really didn't want it to end. Perfect book for my first introduction into audible books. wish I had found out about it sooner. Thank you Zantha for my audible gift book.
I loved this book. I don't even know where to start, so I will leave it with, if you love a great story with a great narrator than this book is for you. The characters were interesting, the story kept me wrapt with interest, and the narrator was perfect. I am going to see if Helene Wecker has written other books because this one was wonderful.
I was extremely skeptical about the book, thinking more love story, based on the title, but was pleasantly surprised to the contrary. The book moves from dark to whimsical to suspenseful throughout, in a story that was well thought out and well read. The author's rich descriptions of places, items, and events coupled with splendid narration transport and transfix the listener. The juxtaposition of the titled protagonists in their lives before and after meeting one another are wonderfully expressive and well woven into a plot twisting life of what is a timeless antagonist. It's actually a pretty brilliant piece of fiction and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys the fantasy/supernatural genre.
The odd combination of characters
When each comes to grip with who and what they are.
The ending...because surprisingly I didn't want it to end.
I would have, but couldn't
i am writing this as I sit in my car and feeling a bit forlorn over the end of this remarkable tale. There are layers of thought and meaning that make The Golem and the Jinni fat more than fable or fantasy. My remaining hope is for a sequel. Outstanding performance.
It's not that a fairytale needs to be believable but I would have liked this one a lot more if it were consistent with or added up to itself. Based on what I know about the culture in which golem mythology was born and sustained, so much in this book was off. I also found the romance parts shallow. The things I liked were the represented good Arab-Jewish relations and relations between Eastern Orthodox and Maronite as well as Muslim Arabs. The thing I loved about the book is that it was a springboard for permutations and other imagined stories.
Brilliantly written and performed, this thought-provoking and poetic story interweaves the lives of it's characters with a grace rarely found among authors. Bravo!!!
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