The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel


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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 readable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of folk mythology, historical fiction, and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781483005348
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Helene Wecker received a BA from Carleton College in Minnesota and an MFA from Columbia University in New York. A Chicago-area native who has made her home in Minneapolis, Seattle, and New York, she now lives near San Francisco with her husband and daughter. The Golem and the Jinni is her first novel.

George Guidall has recorded over a thousand audiobooks and is the recipient of eighty AudioFile Earphones Awards and two Audie Awards for Excellence in Audiobook Narration, as well as a Special Achievement Award in 2014 from the Audio Publishers Association. His forty-year acting career includes starring roles on Broadway, an Obie Award for best performance off Broadway, and frequent television appearances.

What People are Saying About This

Deborah Harkness

“With a delightful blend of the prosaic and the fanciful, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI explores what it means to be human as Chava and Ahmad struggle to live and find love while overcoming the powerful adversary who threatens to destroy them.”

Tom Reiss

“From its eerie opening pages to its shattering conclusion, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI is an astonishing debut novel that sweeps us into a gaslit alternate reality rich enough to get lost in.”

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The Golem and the Jinni 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 143 reviews.
Dieverdog More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was truly unique and I loved the characters - they were very well developed and I'm picky about that. It had a great fantasy premise that was written well enough to seem plausible. The story really drew me in and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even the secondary characters were interesting and had nice depth. I also liked getting a flavor of turn of the century New York. The idea of it being in little Syria gave it a unique twist and the Jewish community was fascinating to me also. There was so much to like about this book. The writing was well crafted and had a nice pacing to it. Enough detail to bring it to life but not so much it got bogged down. The plot moved along nicely and kept me interested. Both the golem and the jinni had their flaws but that made them interesting. I really wanted to find out what would happen to them. I would thoroughly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Salman Rushdie's magical realism. I don't care for anyone else's. Until I read "The Golem And The Jinni" by Helene Welker. 1899 NewYork presented as well by anyone since Caleb Carr. Characterization, time, and place like Dickens. Not as dense as Rushdie so accessible by more readers than eggheads like myself. I usually read a book in a day or two, this one I streched out to two weeks like nibbling a great meal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unlike some who choose to give away the entire plot including the ending, I just want to say tha I love this book. The story moves along nicly without ever getting bogged down. The characters are real and to me believable. I whole heartedly recommend this novel.
Terez More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Masterfully told and beautiful. Wish i would have bought it in hard cover to keep on my bookshelf next to all the other great works of literature!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book well written, I also had this book in Audio format. The narrator is excellent and the varies voices he used for each individual characters was very well done. I highly recommend this book and or audiobook.
Twink More than 1 year ago
The Golem and The Jinni is Helen Wecker's debut novel.....and oh boy, what a debut! We're quite used to books about 'supernatural' beings - vampires, werewolves, witches and more. But Wecker's two protagonists aren't as 'famous'. Otto Rotfield wants a wife to take with him when he emigrates to America. But, he wants her to fit the mold he has imagined. To that end, he approaches a man steeped in mystery and asks him to create a Golem - a creature made entirely of clay and destined to serve its master's every command. She is a masterpiece. When Otto falls ill on the boat journey, he manages to animate the Golem before he dies. And so this creature lands in New York City in 1899, uninformed as to the ways of the world, how to behave, what to expect and how she will hide among the humans. It is her good luck that an old rabbi recognizes her for what she is - and takes her in. Not far away in Little Syria (Lower Manhattan) a local woman brings a battered copper flask to the neighbourhood metalworker for repair. When he erases one of the intricate designs that encircle the guessed it - a Jinni is released. The Jinni faces the same challenges as that of the Golem - he has been trapped in the flask for thousands of years. And chance being what it is, these two beings - one of earth and one of fire - meet, and each recognizes that the other is not of this world. Their lives are entwined in ways they could not imagine....and someone else is watching them... Oh, where to start! The setting is beautifully brought to life by Wecker. The lives of immigrants, the wealthy, the tenements, daily life, night life, attractions such as Central Park and more provide a rich and detailed background for Wecker's novel. The Golem and the Jinni are both mythical creatures, but Wecker's writing made them very real and 'human'. I found myself so caught up in their story, rooting for them and hoping they would find happiness. The supporting cast of characters is just as well drawn and equally compelling. This was such a unique and different idea for a novel. Middle Eastern mysticism mixed with Jewish folklore and dipped into New York City's rich history. And under Wecker's skillful pen, it really works. But such is the stuff of magical stories - dastardly villains, good vs. evil, sacrifice, love won and lost, fast friendships and more. And this is the feeling that Helene Wecker's novel gave me - that I was sitting in a beautiful silk tent somewhere in the desert, reclining on pillows and listening to Scheherazade spin one of her 1001 tales. I was enthralled from first page to last. Wecker has truly woven a magical debut.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book, and its amazing originality!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading this great novel by Helen Wecker and found myself delighted in the rich and imaginative story telling. A great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buy it!
joannegrace More than 1 year ago
This was well written and had a complex plot, and interwoven characters and events - from the past and present. Very interesting, unique story and settings - and though these mainly concerned two non-human beings (a jinni, or genie) and a "golem" - a man-made being/creature - all the human elements were contained in them and the rest of the story. Very captivating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has been a long time since I have come across a book that I did not want to stop reading. This is a wondrful story that blends history, mysticism, and romance in a seamless story that crosses the ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this turn of the century fairy tail in the middle of NYC.  All of the characters and circumstances were very interesting and kept me wanting to read more.  I see one reviewer said he found the book confusing, but that might be due to the flashbacks that if you keep on reading tie everything together.  
RooMom More than 1 year ago
Stumbled upon it in the bookstore and so glad I did. Loved it!
Melisan More than 1 year ago
A thoroughly enjoyable read.  Relax, sit back, and enter a different world that exists alongside our reality.
Mz-Bwayne More than 1 year ago
Did not want this book to end!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book may be a bit overlong in places, but the characters are fascinating and timeless. I finished the book early this morning and already wish there were a sequel.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
The Golem and The Jinni by Helene Wecker (thanks to the Devourer of Books) which was really long but surprisingly good! We discussed it over at Devourer of Books, but I’ll give you a quickie overview here.  A golem is created by a rabbi in order to be a wife for a not-so-wonderful man.  Problem?  A golem is inherently bad, and will listen to a master. . . but can still get out of hand. A jinni (much like the genie we think of) is released from a bottle after many years, but still manacled.  Why?  How’d he get like that? Both the golem and the jinni are lucky enough to meet mentors that help guide them on their paths.  But they are both very restless creatures, and when they coincidentally meet each other, their lives change. So even though the book is super long, take a chance on it!  It’s worth the read!   Thanks for reading,   Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful, well-written story.  I found myself truly caring about these characters.
SpeedSD More than 1 year ago
EXCEPTIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!! There are times when writing a review, that I just don't know how I am going to put words down to do a book justice. This is one of those times. This is a wonderfully woven tale of magic and mystery. The author has a way with words that is absolutely amazing! I was pulled into the story from the beginning and it just got better the more I read. As the author introduced each character, I wondered how it would all pull together. Well, let me just say that it pulled together in a way that I am still in awe about. Without giving away the plot (you can read the summary on the back of the book), this is a story of love, magic, mystery, religion, and life in New York in the late 1800s to early 1900s. There is some wonderful history given on the Jewish and Christian communities living in New York at that time. Lots of history on Jewish traditions. The author does this without ever becoming too bogged down with information. I never felt like anything was dragging on. If you love a beautifully told "story", this is it. I will definitely be looking for more from this author. I cannot believe this is her first published work. It is absolutely amazing. Thanx to Ms. Wecker for taking me on this ride. I truely enjoyed myself. :~) -- SPeeD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an amaxing journey. I regret now missing the opportunity to see her at a reading/signing. The book is complex, intimately written, and colorful. I did not feel that any detail, thought, or path was unnecessary to the story. I was satisfied with the ending and its length. I am eager to read her next works and will make sure that I attend her next reading.
bbb57 More than 1 year ago
This is the best Fiction Novel I have read this year. This author has laced together exceptional characters with superb writing. This book is just plain fun to read! Can't wait for a follow up or next novel from Ms. Wacker!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have read in a while! Love the mix of turn of the century NYC and these mythical creatures of legend. The book continued to surprise me, which is so refreshing given that most plots can be so predictable. I would love to read more from this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I DID NOT WANT THIS NOVEL TO END. This is defintely on my top 5 best books to read. For months I avoided picking up this novel because of the premise of the story. Fantasy, Si-Fi, & Horror are not my genre, at all. However, this book is written so well and let's not forget the story is original, i will definitely purchase this author's next novel. She did a great job. Yes, I truly mean it was an original story. Again - i did not want it to end. It was that good!!
gregs More than 1 year ago
I was caught by the cover! I have been very fortunate over the many years and 100's of books that I have pulled the ink right off the pages. This book did not disappoint me! It was a slight drift from my usual reads but I can't say enough about how the ink & pages have stayed with me. I was so wonderfully pulled into the heartbeat & life of New York city and its enclaves. Ms. Wecker has given us a real gift of a read. I would have loved to be the "Tinsmith" more get the book and fall in love with the Golem & the Jinni