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 absolutely loved it. The blending of cultures and traditions was perfectly done. The ideas on morality and the points raised challenge conventional ideas, which I found to be very insightful.
The story was unexpectedly unique. It kept me interested and listening in just two installments. I love George Guidall as a narrator in everything I've listened to so far. He brings all the characters to life (hehe). If I had one complaint it would be his voice for Chava. This could have been intentional though. Without giving anything away in the story, he portrayed her voice as somewhat monotone. Anyway, I would definitely consider reading another book by Helene Wecker if she continues producing such unique stories. And, I will definitely continue seeking out narrations by George Guidall.
I loved this book. It was full of mystery. The contrast between the Golem and the Jinni and their personalities makes for an in-depth look at what it means to be human and to care for another person. I highly recommend it!
Really enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Great storytelling. Definitely worth the read.
This was an awesome story. It takes the rather two dimensional characters of the golem (man-made servant brought to life from Clay who eventually runs amok and kills everyone) and the genie (enslaved being of immense power who grants wishes and seeks to subversively destroy his master) and reinvents them as likable, compelling and engaging characters. Interestingly, the author uses these thumbnail sketches of these two legendary beings and evolves them into relatable, yet supernatural, protagonist. The author create a story with a compelling pace, a great setting and a truly memorable and intriguing antagonist.
Listen to all kinds, but mostly enjoy witty light-hearted entertaining reads. Stay away from romance novels & books with heavy violence.
Don't be put off by 3 stars as I reserve 5 for truly exceptional books that I could read over and over again with 4 being great books that I will listen to again at some point. I can't see myself ever listening to this one again, but I don't regret listening to it and will read the next book if there is one. It has a little romantic and fantasy fable feel to it, but it kept my attention 90% of the time. If you are a person who really only likes heavier fantasy or thrillers this is not the book for you. For parents with kids - there are a few points with coitus (not in detail) and mild violence.
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