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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 (10094 )
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Performance
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  •  
    LDKennedy Aurora, CO United States 08-25-13
    LDKennedy Aurora, CO United States 08-25-13 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a Wonderful Story!"
    Any additional comments?

    A fascinating concept, wonderfully executed. This beautifully written novel tells the story of two non-human characters who join their human counterparts, immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City, as they all attempt to find their way in a strange new world. They are surrounded by an impressive cast of supporting characters, and the city itself comes alive with such detail. I loved everything about this story!!! It was completely engaging, from beginning to end. Hope to see more from this author.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly Braun 05-25-13
    Kelly Braun 05-25-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding story and narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! Wonderful story, characters and questions of existence. This was such a delightful surprise since I had not heard of the author before or read reviews of the book. George Guidall is one of my favorite narrators and is once again excellent


    13 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theresia 01-13-14
    Theresia 01-13-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great performance, but story a bit young..."

    I really enjoyed this book and it was the perfect easy listen during a hectic holiday, but despite the marvellous performance George Guidall I found the storyline a bit young. By this I mean that it was soft and never really challenging, there were no real surprises around the corner and the grand finale was quite predictable. Still I recommend the book. I enjoyed the plot and the characters and sometimes it's nice to read a straightforward tale.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cate Mareeba, Australia 05-15-13
    Cate Mareeba, Australia 05-15-13
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    "Couldn't put it down, unbelievably believable"

    This was fascinating to me on various levels, you got to learn about
    - Golem's and Genies
    - explore how they felt suddenly turning up in 19th C New York.
    - what 19th C New York was like with all the new immigrants
    - myths and legends in Jewish Kaballa culture (golems) and Bedouin culture, (genies)
    It was really well written, well read, absorbing, believable and a good pace
    We got to explore each character and how they felt about what was happening now and how they got to this stage in their lives.
    Lots of mystery and intrigue -- refreshingly unpredictable

    15 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TallyWally 02-07-14
    TallyWally 02-07-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Meh"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. Story was hum-drum. Some of the prose was entertaining, but I got the impression that the author did not do a great job of thinking out how the characters would interact or how the story line could have been better with the given characters.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Get "Anansi Boys" for an extremely satisfying experience. That and "The Help" are the best two books on Audible.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy 03-14-17
    Troy 03-14-17

    "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” -- Somerset Maugham

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Rich light-fantasy with a great historical context"

    I was pleasantly surprised by this fantasy work about two magical creatures struggling in turn of the century New York immigrant neighborhoods.

    Non-spoilery highlights:

    • The book is long, but doesn't feel like it. The writing is sumptuous and easy-going; reading becomes addictive in that "I think I'll do just one more chapter" kind of way. But let's face it, you aren't going to get through this one in one sitting. Guidall is a great reader, no doubt, and a good choice for this one.

    • The titular characters are interesting because they have both inhuman and human (at least in the "universal" sense) instincts. As such, they kind of become a stand-in for anyone who doesn't feel quite like they "fit in." I suppose this next detail is a very mild spoiler, but you learn it in the first few chapters -- both are creatures that would normally have masters, but both are independent operators, without 'present' masters, for most of the book.

    • The ground-level view of Jewish and Syrian neighborhoods adds really nice context and flavor to the work. I suppose if I were to "wish otherwise" for this book, I would wish that this context ran a bit deeper than it does. But it never felt to me as if the author was giving them short-shrift or exploiting them without respect.

    • Ditto the above in regard to turn of the century New York. Many reviews talk about this novel as set in the 19th century, but it begins in 1899 and goes forward, so... I wouldn't say it's either 19th or 20th. More Fin De Siècle.

    • I am still uncertain if I'm satisfied with the outcome of the book. It seems real enough that it's a bit above my likes or dislikes, if you know what I mean. I don't think I've walked away from the book changed though. Part of me wanted some kind of philosophical knot to worry over re: free will. There is the beginnings of that in the book, but it really tells a more human story than delving into intellectual grounds.

    • The characters are great. I think you care about most of them, even incidental ones. So I guess that's what I mean when I say it "tells a more human story."

    Anyway, I loved it. I would recommend it and will probably drop it in my wife's lap. I think this would be a great "next level" read for someone who enjoyed Harry Potter but is ready for something with a bit more meat on the bone. (No disrespect to Rowling's works intended.)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CynthiaD 01-14-17
    CynthiaD 01-14-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Love, love this story and presentation."

    The story's twists and turns captivated until the last page. I will look forward to other books by this author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karsen weems 01-10-17 Member Since 2014
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    "A soft love story"

    I really enjoyed this story. It was slow to build, and soft in its unfolding. This book reminds me of a big comfy chair, with a knit blanket, and a wide window for all your dreaming. It's not falling in love fast and hard, it's waking up and finding that you have been with your best friend for years. You can be the only one of your kind and still not alone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis C. Solon 01-09-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Strong characters deeply entwined storyline"

    I never wife revues but felt I had to for this book. One of the best stories I have heard in a long time. I listen to and read multiple books per month. The characters are rich and deep and complex. The story is engaging and the plot was intricately woven with beautiful language. I particularly loved all of the small details of the different cultures and religions and neighborhoods and the common humanity and foibles across all people and times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam 04-15-16
    Sam 04-15-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    14
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    "An amazing and original story!!!"

    This book was a great story and is now easily my new favorite nobel. The story has great complex characters, amazing plot and imagery that immerses the player into the story... The only thing I dislike is that I want more and I don't know if it is even possible for the author to deliver on that... I loved it! Thanks you to the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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