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 very long novel which had the plot to be about a quarter as long. I was unimpressed. And I say this as someone who relishes long novels.
Great storyline with wonderful character development.
The Golem was my favorite character, but I truly loved them all.
Too hard to say...
I wish she would write another book! I'll be patiently waiting. Honestly, I could listen to Guidall to read the phone book. He's memorizing!
Absolutely wonderful, imaginative and gripping story that you never want to hear come to an end. Highest marks on the performance as well. I can't wait to read whatever other treasures Helene Wecker has in store for us!
Two of the most compelling characters I've read in a while, who are all the more compelling because of the existence of the other.
This is a beautifully-read tale of finding and knowing, of connection and the meaning of love, while also touching on lust and free will and prudishness and hedonism and frivolity.
Long story, but it speeds up considerably in the last third. Unqualified recommendation.
I had this in my maybe list for a long time. So very glad I got it. Well worth every minute. A true gem in my opinion. I am typically open to many different stories but can not stand being bored. I often have several titles I am reading at the same time. This kept my attention the whole time. All my other books got lonely waiting for me to finish. It's one of those stories you feel like you can truly escape into and I am sure I will be walking around for the next week or so thinking about it. Wish it hadn't ended. Highly recommended.
Excellent. Different type of story weaving mystical traditions of different cultures. A universal love story, totally different from what I expected. A delight!
A wonderfully entertaining experience from a unique set of characters.
The writing is professional and the presentation awesome as always.
It is a complete story in every way I can think of. The personalities of the Gollem and the Genius, especially because the latter is definitely unpleasant, are very engaging. It feels natural to share their troubles, which are many, and their infatuations, passing or not. The interaction between the two, little, given the size of the book, is very powerful.
The setting and the other characters of New York, especially Little Syria, are richly set up not only by the amount but the quality of the details; the author can transfer a flavor and texture to the environment that really carry the reader very easily to those streets, to that coffee, that aquarium. It is very engaging.
The adventure itself is very interesting. Although some elements are easy to predict, others took me by surprise and were certainly very nice, they bind very well the story.
A final thing I want to point out is that there are no forced romance attempts. They exist where they exist and don’t where none exist. Sometimes I think authors stress romantic attempts in our throats, but this is something that Helen did not.
Five stars without a doubt.
Completo em todos os aspectos
É uma história completa em todos os aspectos que consigo imaginar. As personalidades da Gollem e do Gênio, especialmente porque este último é bem desagradável, são muito envolventes. É natural compartilhar de suas angústias, que são muitas, e das suas enfatuações, passageiras ou não. A interação entre os dois, pouca, dada a dimensão do livro, é muito poderosa.
O cenário e os outros personagens de Nova York, especialmente Little Syria, são ricamente constituídos não apenas pela quantidade mas pela qualidade dos detalhes; a autora consegue transferir um sabor e uma textura ao ambiente que realmente transportam o leitor com muita facilidade àquelas ruas, àquele café, aquele aquário. É muito envolvente.
A aventura em si é muito interessante. Apesar de alguns elementos serem fáceis de prever, outros me tomaram de surpresa e foi certamente foram muito agradáveis, que amarravam muito bem a história.
Um último ponto positivo que gostaria de apontar é que não existem tentativas forçadas de romance. Eles existem onde existem, e não existem onde não existem. Alguma vezes acho que alguns autores forçam romances em nossas goelas goela abaixo, mas essa é uma coisa que Helen não fez.
Cinco estrelas, sem sombra de dúvidas.
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