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 story had great depth and the characters were well definex such that i could really relate to them.
This book is about non-humans, and it is a book about being human. It's a beautiful story of love, loss, and desperate desire to break the chains of being human. The writing is beautiful, and puts the listener in the place and time masterfully.
I felt like the reader was embodying the characters. Everyone had a unique presentation and voice.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I usually read suspense-thrillers, so was not sure this would entertain me, BUT IT DID! I never saw the ending coming, which is a lot to say for me.
Each character is carefully constructed and developed so that the reader moves from one point of view to another, and the lives of the characters touch each other over a great time and a great distance. I actually learned what a golem is (according to the Jewish traditions of mysticism) and connected that knowledge with some other literature, such as the Miss Peregrine stories and of course the Gollum of JRR Tolkien. The only down side of the story is that it drags a bit occasionally. I guess it takes a while to develop this many characters! Overall, I enjoyed it very much and would read another book by this author when she writes one!
The creativity of the author in describing her characters and the situations they find themselves in.
This is my first time listening to George Guidall, and his take on the book added a lot to my enjoyment of the book
The Jinni, although entirely self absorbed, was fascinating. He had such a vast sweep of knowledge and experience. He'd be interesting to talk with. As I think about him now though, I'm not sure I really know how he'd be as a conversationalist. His attention span seems short, and I don't feel he'd be easily entertained. Funny to think about a character in that way.
I enjoyed the explication of the immigrant experience from these different beings. The golem was so innocent, and the jinni so arrogant. Reading so much about the Syrian community in New York is interesting considering the news about all the refugees. They seem so much like every other immigrant establishing themselves, making a new life. The historical perspectives were well done, and the fantasy parts were mostly interesting - sometimes awkward and repetitive. Nonetheless, I couldn't put the book down.
This was a great book! Both the writing and narration were excellent. I wasn't sure what to make of the story when I first purchased the book but it turned out to be engrossing, pulling you into the golem and jinni's new world.
I didn't expect to like this book, but the writing is seamless and the story completely engrossing. I was sorry when it ended. One of the most creative books I've read, and the writing is so good that the unbelievable heroes of the story are made real and completely familiar.
I dove so voraciously into the story I stayed up 2 nights listening and earned the owl badge. My favorite parts are the existential and essential questions that the golem and jinni ask as outside observers of humans. Invaluable inquiries.
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