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
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.
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.
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!
The idea of the story was interesting, and the picture of immigrant life in the early part of the 20th century was enjoyable.
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.
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.
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.
Great! Loved the mythical aspects of the story. Also, the way history intertwined was great.
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