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Editorial 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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    5,776
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    3,312
  • 3 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    506
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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Simply Outstanding

Heading says it all. Plot was engaging, suspenseful and heart thumping. Guidall is my all time favorite. A great performance each time I listen. Can't wait (literally) for the next installment. 2018 !!!!

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Excellent start but got bogged down midway through

I recommended this unique and original story after the first hour or two, but towards the middle I was lost and wanted it to wrap up.

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bit slow but very good

Book seems to draw on a bit in the middle but the characters are beautifully drawn and the story is engaging.

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A fantastic outsiders view of the human experience

This book shows what it is like to become human from both a cautious and rebellious standpoint with a brilliant tale and in depth cast. A must read.

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  • John
  • Kenmore, WA, United States
  • 09-18-16

Oh My Gosh!

If you could sum up The Golem and the Jinni in three words, what would they be?

Totally enthralling

Who was your favorite character and why?

Golem (Hanna) the best hero of her age.

What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

Splendid narration. A quiet delivery with nuiance voice. Very engrossing.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

All is not as it seems.

Any additional comments?

Total enjoyment with the book. From start to finish. Author has excellent use of word and phrase and the intent is captured by the superb narrator. Really a great experience.

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Just an amazing story!

Guidall's reading performance is as greag as ever. Helene Wecker has crafted a truly unique tale of fantasy, magic and a bit of romance in the multi ethnic ghettos of early twentieth century New York.

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Fantastic!

What did you love best about The Golem and the Jinni?

I love fantasy literature, and so rarely does a fantasy book delve into deep issues, but this book did (and did so successfully). Never before have two non-human characters so accurately analyzed what it means to be human. This book is truly in a class of it's own. Set against a historical backdrop, these two characters form a unique connection. I'm hesitant to say more, so I'll just say that this book is fantastic. Thought-provoking, philosophical, and so much more. It's the kind of book that stays with you days after you're done reading it. A must-read!

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  • Joseph
  • Converse, TX, United States
  • 09-07-16

It was an engaging story, that felt good.

I liked the characters, and it was a look into rash decisions and there consequences, while trying to explore life.

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Exquisite

One of the best books I've read, and probably the best audiobook performance I've listened to. A perfect blend of character-ficused realism and subtle plot-driven soeculative fiction.

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Entrancing

A thoroughly enjoyable story, this audio delight had me listening to the detriment of my own productivity. The author's cultural knowledge interwove the characters' lives so beautiful, and of course a genius finish. The performer's voices had me feeling as though I'd befriended the characters themselves. Though it left a little to be desired with regard to certain thematic developments, I admit my own bias may color this particular aspect. All in all, such a delightful story to get lost in- a million years could pass by and I'd hardly be aware.