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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 (5715 )
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4.6 (5235 )
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Performance
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  •  
    silver N. Bethesda, MD USA 07-22-15
    silver N. Bethesda, MD USA 07-22-15 Member Since 2009

    baehr2

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging & Enchanting"
    If you could sum up The Golem and the Jinni in three words, what would they be?

    Engaging, enchanting, entertaining.


    What did you like best about this story?

    My book group selected this book, so I didn't know what to expect. The story drew me in right away...just the fact that the golem was a "woman" was intriguing. The story reflects on many aspects of being human, control of others, taking responsibility. What I liked the best was the relationship between the golem & the jinni -- their growing encouragement and understanding of one another was both beautiful & surprisingly tender.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    So well done, I didn't focus on how he was changing voices from men to women, was he dramatic enough or too much, etc. Excellent performance. Always struck the right note.


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

    Because it was so long, no, but about half way through, I wanted to listen in one sitting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard B Kyser 07-20-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Decent"

    Focuses on those things which I find less interesting. Overall a well written and well thought out work. Two word

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Anderson 07-18-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unexpected Gem"
    Would you listen to The Golem and the Jinni again? Why?

    When I bought this book I was not sure if I would like but I Like the characters and the plot


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

    There is no book I could compare this book too. It is a historical fantasy, and a love story


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Wow that is hard the walks with the Golem and the Jinni were great


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

    It made me feel good it was an enjoyable ride


    Any additional comments?

    This is a book you want to read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hagatha Houston, TX 07-18-15
    Hagatha Houston, TX 07-18-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    21
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    "Marvelous Tale"

    I found the story and narrator's presentation to be a perfect match. The story is fascinating and clever. Wecker brings you right into the story, the time and place. I had a movie running in my head the entire time. I'm ready to hear it again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael 07-16-15
    michael 07-16-15
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    14
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    "good story, great voice "

    love George. he could read a phone book and I would listen. the story is fun mythology. story that can be listened to in short drives.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LisaG 07-14-15
    LisaG 07-14-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Absolutely LOVED this book!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Golem and the Jinni to be better than the print version?

    The narration was superb and descriptions of the Jinni's desert home, NYC in that day, etc, so vivid and evocative when read aloud, it's hard to imagine it could be better in print.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Golem and the Jinni?

    The point at which the Golem and Jinni discover each other and their shared "otherness" begins to create a bond.


    Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

    Very hard to pick--the Rabbi (for his humanity) and the ice cream maker are favorites.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Golem and the Jinni and why?

    The old wizard was pretty unforgettable; evil, twisted and cruel, yes, but a truly memorable villain.


    Any additional comments?

    Listening to this book felt like being on an exotic vacation. I really didn't want it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Desiree 07-13-15
    Desiree 07-13-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Story
    "Entertaining"

    I loved this story because it constantly kept me wondering how the characters were connected. At times it was a little slow but still entertaining. The narrator had a spectacular voice and did a fantastic job distinguishing the characters. Over all I am pleased I bought this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JensaB 07-07-15
    JensaB 07-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Loved this one!"

    The performance was flawless! At times I found myself missing that voice! The story was fantastic, it really was. At times it got slower but I didn't mind. I was thrilled with this book, very glad I decided on it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet 07-01-15
    Janet 07-01-15
    ratings
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    19
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    "a listening smourasbourg"

    A wonderful story told by a great reader. What a treat for listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Redfan80 07-01-15
    Redfan80 07-01-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Really did not like this book!!!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing, I found the story so boring and depressing. I got 2/3 through and have gave up several times because I constantly lose focus and really no connection with any of the characters. Just to sappy and miserable.


    What was most disappointing about Helene Wecker’s story?

    I really could care less about all of the characters, it's just boring.


    Would you be willing to try another one of George Guidall’s performances?

    Sure, he didn't write the book.


    What character would you cut from The Golem and the Jinni?

    I really didn't care for anyone in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Saw all the great reviews and attempted to get through it on several occasions. It was a huge wast of money and effort. Also, I don't think it was a matter of taste, it's just not very good writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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