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 didn't follow the normal path and that's one of the things I loved about it. I couldn't get the story and it kept me guessing. So glad I listened to this!!
Helene Wecker's magical book entices the reader to embark upon a journey that explores the myths of two ancient cultures. The story, like a beautiful and intricately woven magic carpet, weaves through the imagined lives of a golem and a jinni who are both out of place and time. Be prepared to listen nonstop until the end.
Very unlike anything I've read before. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Perhaps the highlight was the reader. Wonderful voices, accents, really made the story come to life.
What a story! While listening to this book, as I moved from MI to CA, I was taken on a magical journey back in time. The author puts you in NYC in the 1800s. Her writing was so powerful I could not only picture myself walking the streets so vividly I could create a map, but at times I could smell and taste the words she had written. As I pulled into the driveway of my new home, I wanted to keep driving in hopes this would prolong my time with the characters she so carefully created. Unfortunately the story was over and so was my journey.
at first it seems slow, but that's because the author is laying ground work for an ambitious narrative. Wecker weaves her story with depth and precision, and the payoff is well worth a bit of patience at the beginning. By the time the action really hits, you'll be invested in both the characters and the plot!
it was refreshing to read a fantasy that was not about war and great armies. yet still captivating and full of great characters.
fantastic story and narration. best book I've listened to in a long long time. be patient in reading it but well worth it.
I am a sucker for books with multiple, converging story lines, and this tale was masterfully woven. The narrator was superb. His varying tones and accents made the characters that much richer.
I felt like this book took a long time building the characters. It was nice, to have such intense stories and know each one so well - but it took quite a while for things to "come to a boil" and the end....while alright, left me a bit unsatisfied. The author wrapped it up sufficiently, I suppose I just felt more invested in the characters by that time I was left feeling a little unrequited.
It was a great read though, probably won't do it again but I would read another if this were a series.
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