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
A fascinating concept, wonderfully executed. This beautifully written novel tells the story of two non-human characters who join their human counterparts, immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, as they all attempt to find their way in a strange new world. They are surrounded by an impressive cast of supporting characters, and the city itself comes alive with such detail. I loved everything about this story!!! It was completely engaging, from beginning to end. Hope to see more from this author.
Absolutely! Wonderful story, characters and questions of existence. This was such a delightful surprise since I had not heard of the author before or read reviews of the book. George Guidall is one of my favorite narrators and is once again excellent
I really enjoyed this book and it was the perfect easy listen during a hectic holiday, but despite the marvellous performance George Guidall I found the storyline a bit young. By this I mean that it was soft and never really challenging, there were no real surprises around the corner and the grand finale was quite predictable. Still I recommend the book. I enjoyed the plot and the characters and sometimes it's nice to read a straightforward tale.
This was fascinating to me on various levels, you got to learn about
- Golem's and Genies
- explore how they felt suddenly turning up in 19th C New York.
- what 19th C New York was like with all the new immigrants
- myths and legends in Jewish Kaballa culture (golems) and Bedouin culture, (genies)
It was really well written, well read, absorbing, believable and a good pace
We got to explore each character and how they felt about what was happening now and how they got to this stage in their lives.
Lots of mystery and intrigue -- refreshingly unpredictable
This book was a great story and is now easily my new favorite nobel. The story has great complex characters, amazing plot and imagery that immerses the player into the story... The only thing I dislike is that I want more and I don't know if it is even possible for the author to deliver on that... I loved it! Thanks you to the author.
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.
The summary of this book made it somewhat interesting, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good this story actually was. I was drawn in right from the beginning and didn't want to stop listening. The characters were developed well and the author brought fantasy into a real world environment. I felt I was experiencing these characters' actions and emotions.
All of them? All of the characters impacted one another in a very cleaver way.
No, my first listen, but I enjoyed his reading of this story. It was well-matched.
Chava, the Golem. Such an interesting character.
Listen to this book! You will not be disappointed!
Avid reader and blogger
A Golem – a woman made of clay who can feel people’s desires – and a Jinni just out of the bottle are left to fend for themselves in New York, 1899. A strange and fascinating setting for an incredible novel! I absolutely adored this strange and beautiful tale. I loved the characters whose likes I’ve never encountered before.
The Jinni’s artistic creativity and thirst for freedom was fascinating reading, and I relished the Golem’s dilemmas concerning her ability to read people’s desires and find a way to function in the world. She wanted nothing more than to belong somewhere and to someone, to know her place and how to please others. He, the Jinni, wants freedom above all. From this strange mismatch forms a beautiful friendship. I highly recommend this novel!
What an extraordinary first novel! I was transfixed by this sweeping turn-of-the-century story of immigrants, New York, Jewish and Arabic folklore, fantasy and romance.
So many other reviewers here have described this gem better than I, but all I can say how much I loved every bit of this book and I didn't want it to end.
You ever just need an escape? And I'm not talking 'bout from everyday life. I mean from the same ole' rehashed stories ranging from space-opera to fantasy. This is about as good as you'll find. Admittedly the latter is the staple of my audible diet but this, this is something entirely different you'll wish to take a break for. It's that good. It's so good in fact I've been finding myself looking for more "breaks" by this author. But alas, I'll just to listen again.
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