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The Golem and the Jinni Audiobook

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

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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 (8974 )
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  •  
    D. Milbradt 11-03-13
    D. Milbradt 11-03-13 Member Since 2016
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    "A Terrific First Novel"
    Any additional comments?

    The setting, character development, human insights, and narrator all made this book a wonderful listen. There was a gentle, penetrating quality which made this book particularly enjoyable after listing to other fantasy novels which contained a lot of violence. A remarkable first novel.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E Wagner PORTLAND, OR, United States 10-18-13
    E Wagner PORTLAND, OR, United States 10-18-13 Member Since 2010
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    "I fell headfirst into this book"

    You know when you listen to a book and the colors seem richer? Almost like you accidentally walked into a Van Gogh painting, and now all the characters and images are super-vivid? That was my experience with this book. I have to admit that I am a pushover for things that verge into magical realism, so combine that with the historical fiction AND traditional folklore, and this book had me from the outset. But I'd argue that even if someone was not a fan of those things, the natural fluidity of the storytelling would seduce them deep into this novel.

    I loved the audio-experience of this book, in particular, because Guidall's voice "fit" the expressive characters so beautifully.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-03-13
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    "Original, Profound and Entertaining!"

    This is one of the best books of the summer. When I read the publisher's description I thought this would be a work of fantasy involving time and the possibility of peace between Muslims and Jews. I was delighted to find instead a deep story about people, just people. It was not a reference to politics or war or the problems of the Middle East. It was a study on the question of what it means to be human, about freedom and redemption that comes from choosing to do the right thing, and most of all, love. The descriptions of the immigrant communities and geography of Manhattan in the late 1800's were wonderful and deeply satisfying. The characters and dialogue captivating and true. George Guidall's narration was, as usual, excellent.

    Is this what literature is supposed to be like? I think so. Wonderful.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Tromso, Norway 08-29-13
    Robert Tromso, Norway 08-29-13 Member Since 2012
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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
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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
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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 Member Since 2015
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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
  •  
    P Fooshay 08-25-16
    P Fooshay 08-25-16

    Someone who loves to read and takes so much time to read he feels guilty. Oh, wait, maybe that's because I was raised Catholic.

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    "A fantastic story."

    I wish it hadn't ended. Great narration and a mystical story exploring ancient mythologies. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma 08-24-16
    Emma 08-24-16 Member Since 2016

    avid reader and writer of speculative fiction...

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    "Mundane Magical Beings"
    What made the experience of listening to The Golem and the Jinni the most enjoyable?

    The narrator's voice was soothing, but still lively. Definitely lent to the magical, ethereal atmospheric quality that (I believe) the author was trying to capture.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The story is about a golem and a jinni, who are both magical creatures, living amongst normal, familiar, non-magical people in early 20th century NYC. I expected the focus of the writer to be in explaining the worlds of the magical beings. Instead, through the eyes of the golem and jinni, what is explained to you is the inner workings of immigrant culture in the early 20th century... which is a subject I'm already pretty well-versed in. It is well written, but it never really pulled me in and made me want to keep going. I expected a little more magic, and a little less everyday life.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    His embodiment of different characters was great-- somehow, without over the top impressions, raising the tone of his voice to a squeak to impersonate women, etc, he lent a different voice to each character in a way that made it very easy to follow what was going on, even if I wasn't entirely focused on listening.


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

    No... moved a bit too slow, didn't seem to have a driving force in the story, probably because of the split protagonist.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrators voice was really pleasant... unfortunately the lack of spark in the story meant that, more than once, his narration lulled me to sleep...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel 08-17-16
    Rachel 08-17-16 Member Since 2015

    Some books may be better written and genres differ. So I rate on how mush I enjoyed a book, I am not a book critic.

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    "Realistic, fantasy mixed with humantiy"
    Would you listen to The Golem and the Jinni again? Why?

    Yes, not what I thought it would be, BETTER. This is not a fast pace, action packed fantasy, but still not a dull moment. It is a human drama where the 2 main characters are a Jinni form a bottle and a Golem made from clay. They are physical strong, but to survive they have to become human. Learning how, in the Jewish society of early 20th century, NY.


    What other book might you compare The Golem and the Jinni to and why?

    Not like anything I have read. Both characters have a richly told fantasy story and special powers, but they have to survive in a strict Jewish community, where their strengths might get them killed.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I appreciated how both learned to fit into human society. Through their struggle to survive in our world, you see the flaws and endearments of the humans helping them.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It is like a Rembrandt painting. Beautiful. George Guidall made this book outstanding. Read in a soft calm voice, still there was not one dull moment.


    Any additional comments?

    If I read the reviews, I would have thought this a dull story, I would have missed a book with rich characters, well researched history as well as a fantasy twist I have not read before. This is a story told well, not a mindless action thrill ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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