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
Loved this audiobook! The writing and narrating are both so well done and wonderful on the brain and ears. Best imaginative story I've heard in quite a while.
Very different from the books I'm use to reading! The tale was wonderful and the performance was outstanding! Brought the time and place to life!
I have no idea what I expected when I bought this. I think I was just intrigued by how different it sounded. But....wow.
Helene Wecker is amazing at building characters. Everyone in this book has a robust backstory, and an interesting relationship to the plot. I got happily lost listening to her elaborate on each of them.
The narrator is the best I have heard yet. He nails the accents, and he gives every voice a unique flavor. I could have been convinced that a few men were on hand to voice everyone, he just slipped so easily from one role to the next.
The story hooked me almost immediately. Twenty hours I listened to this, and I feel like I need more... I don't know how I can wait for the sequel.
This was a very interesting story with a lot of separate stories that interweave and come together at the end. Great details about the Syrian and Jewish communities in New York at the turn of the century in 1900. Great character development in all of the side stories. Would have liked a little more from the ending but overall satisfied. The narrator did a fantastic job which makes all the difference in the world when listening to an audiobook. I am a huge fan of Jim Dale and Steven Crossley as narrators, and now I can add George Guidall to the list.
Great read! Very intricate, detailed & absorbing!!! Makes you believe in magic lamps...loved the accents.
I did not read the print version but would like to based on this audio version.
So rich. In history, in character, in beauty and humanity. The fantastical elements grounded the story more beautifully than any 'mortal" perspective could.
So nuanced. A velvety good listen. No matter the character being voiced, the thread that connected them is the honeyed center of Mr. Guidall's vocal performance.
I'd like to take out both the Golem and the Jinni but separately so I could learn from each of them why they are drawn to the other. Their differences and similarities are fascinating. To learn about their attraction would be a glimpse into how the world could work better.
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