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The Golem and the Jinni Audiobook

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

4.4 (8373 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robert Tromso, Norway 08-29-13
    Robert Tromso, Norway 08-29-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
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    "A perfect audiobook."

    It doesn't get any better than this. A very good story perfectly narrated by George Guidall.
    The book grips you from the very beginning and won't let go before the end.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christian brisbane, Australia 08-28-13
    christian brisbane, Australia 08-28-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic story and an excellent narrator"
    Where does The Golem and the Jinni rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Definitely in the top ten!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Loved them all but the jinni was someone I identified with in some ways so was my favorite.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love a skilled voice actor that can capture the mood and emotion of a book like this and really engage me in the book even now some time later I can recall the jinni and his often bemused and sometimes baffled tone while addressing the many strange customs of the new world he finds himself in.


    If you could take any character from The Golem and the Jinni out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The jinni for sure, if you could get him to tell you tales of hundreds of years living in a world of spirits and elemental creatures that would be awesome!


    Any additional comments?

    This was probably not a book I would have bought on the publishers description alone but the personal reviews were so positive that I took a chance and was very happy that I did. I have already recommended this to several of my friends as a story this well told crosses genres in its ability to grab hold of a reader and keep them there.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather BEAVERTON, OR, United States 08-09-13
    Heather BEAVERTON, OR, United States 08-09-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Best Book I've Read/Listened To This Year"
    What did you love best about The Golem and the Jinni?

    It was original and very well written. A story that draws you in and keeps you until the very last page- wishing it wouldn't end. I love books like that- it doesn't happen often enough!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I kept wondering how the author came up with the idea for this story - it's so unique. She does a good job of keeping you guessing. Also of making you really care about the characters and what happens to them. It's a fantastical story, obviously, but done in a way so that it never seems silly or too far-fetched.


    Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't heard any other George Guidall's performances, but he was fantastic! Very distinct voices for each character that fit them very well- even with accents and female voices. There was never any confusion about who was speaking, which can happen if the performer is not very good.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    drJerald 07-12-13
    drJerald 07-12-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb narration of an original plot."

    This novel easily ranks among the top 5% of audio books. George Guidall is undeniably the best male narrator. He savors words and breaths life into phrases. His timing and rhythm is impeccable. (I buy some audio books just to hear Guidall's wonderful voice.)

    But, the story and plot is equally entrancing. It is an original novel, with unique characters, colorful history, and interesting introduction to Jewish mysticism and Bedouin myths. The characters are believable and develop well throughout the story. Do pay attention to the little details. They matter.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Never a Plain Jane Tampa, FL 04-29-16
    Never a Plain Jane Tampa, FL 04-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "loved the story, adored the narrator"

    I am a sucker for books with multiple, converging story lines, and this tale was masterfully woven. The narrator was superb. His varying tones and accents made the characters that much richer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carissa Russell Canal Fulton, Ohio United States 04-28-16
    Carissa Russell Canal Fulton, Ohio United States 04-28-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Feels long, but you still really care about them."

    I felt like this book took a long time building the characters. It was nice, to have such intense stories and know each one so well - but it took quite a while for things to "come to a boil" and the end....while alright, left me a bit unsatisfied. The author wrapped it up sufficiently, I suppose I just felt more invested in the characters by that time I was left feeling a little unrequited.
    It was a great read though, probably won't do it again but I would read another if this were a series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sooj Petit Jean, AR, United States 04-28-16
    Sooj Petit Jean, AR, United States 04-28-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Outstanding story, outstanding performance"

    I've already listened to the audiobook twice, and I suspect that I will do so again. Wonderful, respectful fusion of cultures and treatment of points of view. Brava, Helene! Bravo, George!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Lynn 04-27-16
    Amanda Lynn 04-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    9
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    "Great Story, hard to follow"
    What did you love best about The Golem and the Jinni?

    Overall this is a great story and would recommend it! The performance had a good narrator, my problem with it is the story switches between characters often. and if you aren't 100% focused as you listen, its difficult to tell when it is switching scenes, especially in the first several chapters as the reader is still being introduced to characters and time frames.

    Good story, just not one that is easily listened to while multi tasking.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GrnIdNv 04-26-16
    GrnIdNv 04-26-16
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    "Great Book"

    Long and confusing at times but really enjoyed it. The narrator was amazing and did very well going between characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. W. Sawyer Connecticut 04-23-16
    E. W. Sawyer Connecticut 04-23-16 Member Since 2016

    Book Lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A slow, plodding novel with a good ending"

    If you can stand the wait for the end, it finally gets exciting for a few chapters. But someone should have wrangled this author into a fierce edit of her first half of the book. I thought the premise was good and the reviews and ratings by others got me excited. I do not know how, with such a premise, the author could have found such an incredibly boring way to tell the story - but she did! With that said, the ending was good. I almost didn't get there, though. I almost gave up. It did not hep that the narrator has an NPR storyteller voice that puts you to sleep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Bibliophile
    Germany
    6/21/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating magical tale"
    What did you like most about The Golem and the Jinni?

    „The Golem and the Jinni“ is one of those rare books that completely draws you into its world. In her first published novel Helene Wecker creates a magical setting, beginning at the turn of the century in Poland and then she brings New York and its inhabitants to life. Combined with old Arabian and Jewish folk tales, she had me hooked until the last page was read – at the same time wishing for a magical book that would never end.

    Two mystical beings live among humans, trying to survive without being notice, blend in but not lose themselves. Chava (= life) is a golem and was created by rabbi in Poland who liked meddling with the dark arts, is “curious and intelligent”, as her master had requested. Ahmad is a fire jinni who was trapped in an old copper flask, released by chance in New York but is still bound by an old spell.

    Both do not really fit into human society and often feel lonely, especially at night when nearly everyone around them is asleep. Surrounding them is a colourful mix of all classes of New York’s society at that time.

    Chava was created to serve, to please her master. Unfortunately he already died on the voyage to New York, or maybe fortunately for her? She herself is never certain, because her unusual intelligence and perceptiveness for human needs put her into a permanent vicious circle. There is one episode when she tries to find out what “money” is, as this must be more important to humans than everything else….

    And this explains one of the reasons why I was so fascinated with this book. It is a moving tale of two outsiders who can never really fit in. Who look at our human society from a totally different angle. Who must make their way in a world totally foreign to them, even more than to all the other immigrants coming to New York. Both are very different from us humans and in some ways not so very different at all. They could live forever – but they want to do so? Chava yearns for a master, the jinni for freedom. She was made of clay, feels cold to the touch, he was created of fire and has a fierce temper, too.

    The other figures show other facets of human life, a kind old rabbi, a vicious magus, a young woman from New York’s high society, a bedouin girl and her father… The tale of each figure is told with utmost sensitivity, letting all of them come to life and stay in my memory for a long time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Some elements reminded me of the books by Deborah Harkness who also expertly lets her magical beings move in our human world, creating characters that seem like real persons after a few chapters.

    “The Golem and the Jinni” is one of the best stories I have read in a long time, with magical and oh so human characters, letting me walk the streets of a long vanished New York and wishing them all the happiness in the world. A magical, moving, sometimes humours tale. I hope Helene Wecker will continue writing and look forward to reading her next novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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