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The Golem and the Jinni

Helene Wecker

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Description

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.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 11, 2013 – Wecker's first novel is a magical tale of two mythical creatures—a golem from a Polish shtetl and a jinni from the Syrian Desert—struggling to fit in among New York's turn-of-the-19th-century immigrants. The golem is brought to America by poor furniture maker Otto Rotfeld, who had her built from clay to be his wife, but he dies en route. Elderly Rabbi Avram Meyer, recognizing the tall and hardworking young woman's supernatural character, gives her a name—Chava—and a job in a bakery, but ponders whether to destroy her or let her fulfill a destiny that legend dictates includes mayhem and destruction. Meanwhile, a tinsmith, Boutros Arbeely, releases the jinni from a thousand-year-old flask and names him Ahmad. Proud, handsome Ahmad proves a gifted metalworker, seduces a Fifth Avenue heiress, and pines for his long-lost glass palace before meeting Chava, his unlikely soul mate. Wecker deftly layers their story over those of the people they encounter, including a Jewish baker and his wife, a Maronite coffee shop owner and his wife, a doctor turned ice cream vendor, and an apostate social worker. The ending dips into melodrama, but the human touches more than compensate in Wecker's spellbinding blend of fantasy and historical fiction.

Customer Reviews

Very written Lit (Historical fiction/fable)

This book is very well written and is a remarkable and unique tale.

The Golem and the Jinni

Ah, what a wonderfully spun story. I found myself eager to pick up where I had left off as soon as I put this down. I love supernatural and fantastical stories, but have grown a bit tired of the monotony this genre has to offer. This, I'm happy to report, is something that is fresh and wonderful. With a twist of ancient fables set in late 1800's New York City at the height of immigration, action-packed sections, and a dash of both lustful and comfortable, familiar love... This book played like a movie in my mind.

I'm happy I bought it, I will be reading it again.

Magical story...

I really enjoyed reading this book, I couldn't put it down.
Beyond the wilder concepts, such as fiery jinnis and an earthy golem, there are themes of honesty, love and truth that feel like they hold true...even in a magical world.

The Golem and the Jinni
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  • $10.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Apr 23, 2013
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 512 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings