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The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel | [Helene Wecker]

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2013 - The Golem and the Jinni delivers the glimpses into the past that make historical fiction so satisfying, combined with the power of well-told fantasy. New York at the dawn of the 20th century is a city teeming with life as newly-arrived immigrants find their footing in an unfamiliar land. This cultural melting pot is manifested in the story's two titular characters: the golem, a figure from Jewish myth, and the jinni, a spirit from Arabian folklore. The two creatures - normally bidden to serve human masters -find themselves unmoored by circumstances and with no one to serve. Their chance meeting begets an unforgettable journey through the lovingly-crafted city, and provides an outsider's perspective on both the mundane and transcendent in the human experience. Even if fantasy isn't normally in your wheelhouse, this incredible premise – paired with George Guidall’s performance - is sure to deliver. —Michael, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (5877 )
5 star
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4.6 (5386 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer michigan 04-14-15
    Amazon Customer michigan 04-14-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    82
    7
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    Story
    "Ok... Not the type I'm accustomed too..."

    Was a bit boring
    Good narration
    Good description of times...
    Not much character development
    5/10 overall
    I'm a bit disappointed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Kailua, HI, United States 04-14-15
    Lisa Kailua, HI, United States 04-14-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
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    Story
    "Loved it!"

    I loved this book. It had me hooked from the beginning till the end.
    I look forward to the next book by this writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Chilton-Kendrick Ouray, CO United States 04-12-15
    Nancy Chilton-Kendrick Ouray, CO United States 04-12-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow but OK"

    Starts well but bogs down until almost the last 5 chapters. Maybe if there is a second it will be better

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caleb 04-12-15
    Caleb 04-12-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
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    Story
    "fantastic!"

    This is the best book I've read all year. meticulously researched, the author brings to life the time period surrounding a fantastical story. truly a one in a thousand book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Bettendorf, IA, United States 04-12-15
    Mark Bettendorf, IA, United States 04-12-15 Member Since 2011

    Photographer, nature & water geek, music lover, book fiend.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    44
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    "So glad I "took a chance" on this wonderful novel"

    This is a book I had relegated to the wish list for that "someday" I'd want to take a chance on it...I'm so glad the day came & now anxiously look forward to another book by Helene Wecker. As for Mr Guidall, he is undoubtably among the best in the business. I always feel like a book is in masterful care when he narrates. Highly recommend The Golem & the Jinni!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joan Atlanta, ga,United States 04-11-15
    joan Atlanta, ga,United States 04-11-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Great story and storytelling"

    I loved listening to the narrator and hope to find more books he's recorded. Have a beautiful voice, and did a beautiful job distinguishing between characters and infusing each voice with meaning unique to that character.

    The story was very creative and detailed. I loved the combination of cultures and locales. Since a golem is just a machine, and the jinni is a creature a fire, at times they seemed too petty and too human, with the predictable unfaithful reckless man and the timid obedient woman. Getting past this stereotype, it's an imaginative and unpredictable story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Raphael 04-11-15
    Raphael 04-11-15 Member Since 2012
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    21
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    "Unique story"

    Very elegant story with a unique picture in the lives of new immigrants in new york! A great read! Yes

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sassy666 Oregon, USA 04-11-15
    Sassy666 Oregon, USA 04-11-15 Member Since 2014

    I rate 5 (Loved it!) 4 (Really liked it!) 3 (Liked it!) 2 (Didn't really like it!) 1 (Hated it!) I never rate a book before I finish it!

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    "What a unique book!"

    I really liked it. I kept reading the reviews and didn't think it would be for me, but I was looking for something different and decided to give it a shot. I'm really glad I did. The way the plot built was very interesting and I loved the ending. I would like to see a sequel.

    The narrator was perfect too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Exton, PA, United States 04-10-15
    Edward Exton, PA, United States 04-10-15 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Neil Gaiman meets Sholem Aleichem"

    Wonderful! Whimsical, thoughtful, and touching. This is the sort of story that would result from a collaboration between Neil Gaiman & Sholem Aleichem. And George Guidall is the perfect narrator for this book. I can't imagine any of my other favorites doing as good a job. It's exactly the kind of voice & accent that one would want narrating a story by Sholem Aleichem or, as it turns out, by Helene Wecker.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janill 04-10-15
    Janill 04-10-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    2
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    "It's different, a breath of fresh air."

    It was a very good book. I found myself wishing that I would have read it instead of listened to it, but the narrator made it worth while.

    I must admit the at times I got confused as the who was who in the story. There were two characters who had similar names and since I was listening it kept confusing me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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