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 really enjoyed this story & the narration. How do two ancient myths from two different cultures wind up in the same story? This story unfolds slowly as you find yourself in old New York as immigrants stumble through Ellis Island with hope in their hearts. The narrator did wonders with his voice to help portray each character. An enjoyable listen, all around.
While I loved the novelty of the plot, I often found myself becoming impatient with it. There was often an extended build up of suspense without enough resolution to balance this out. In this way, it becomes very close to how our lives are in reality, maybe too close to be as enjoyable as a fantasy novel might be.
The performance was excellent.
I listened to this book for a few weeks on my commute. They did a great job building characters and plots and the story came full circle in the end which I always appreciate. No loose ends left.
This was a wonderful exploration of character and humanity and history. The setting, late 19th century New York, comes to vivid, three-dimensional life as do the intriguing characters. The story unfolds artfully, with fast-paced portions and slow exquisitely detailed portions, always drawing the reader further into fascinating scene after fascinating scene. This is a triumph of a tale, read with comfortable grace and style and great skill. Highly highly highly recommended and capable of pleasing fans of general fiction, historical fiction, urban fantasy, and science fiction alike.
George Guindall's narration was perfect, beautiful. The story... one of the best novels I've read in years. The kind of story that you "live in" and not just read.
Thus is a beautiful story woven into turn of the century New York City and Syria. Absorbing, entrancing and fun. The characters come to life and the story unfolds into something you will not want to stop listening to.
Elderly, bookish person, omnivorous reader, only bothers to review books she considered worth reading.
This is among the best audiobooks I've read in fourteen years.
The scene where Chava, the gollum persuades Aban, the Jinni to allow her to to sacrifice herself for his sake by willingly submitting to being bound again to her master was the most memorable of many memorable moments in the book.
I don't remember listening to Guidall's other performances, but this one was very good. Only in a few spots did he speak too softly and quickly for me to catch all the words and his voices were subtle, so not intrusive on my consciousness of listening to a book. I really don't care for the Audible books that have a lot of different voices. They are not conducive to restful listening for me.
This book was like a satisfying meal. It made me feel quite sated and comfortable as it ended with all the loose ends tied up and everybody's story complete.
Writing and narration were both excellent.
As the hours ticked by, I wished there could have been a method to hear the verse yet slow it down. George Guidall. What can I add to a great listen? Nothing. He's the best. The premise was all the positive one can get from a well-written book. Having been born and raised in the part of New York, central to the story, I was aware of the complex personalities the subjects would be dealing with. To go on and on would be redundant. Get it, listen to it, enjoy. You won't be sorry. Oh, but pay attention to the slow paces. They're important.
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