The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni

A Novel

Book - 2013
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Chava, a golem brought to life by a disgraced rabbi, and Ahmad, a jinni made of fire, form an unlikely friendship on the streets of New York until a fateful choice changes everything.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2013
Edition: 1st ed., International ed. --
ISBN: 9780062269416
Branch Call Number: FIC Wecke 3564
Characteristics: 486 p


From Library Staff

melwyk Jul 03, 2013

This was a wonderfully entertaining, creative read. The premise: it's 1899 in New York, and two new immigrants are stranger than any official could have imagined: one is a Golem & one is a Jinni.

The narrative jumps between Chava and Ahmad, and between their different communities. Since Ch... Read More »

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JCLHebahA Apr 01, 2019

Rich historical setting, compelling characters, and magic handled with a deft enough touch to keep from scaring away readers who don't typically read fantasy. Definitely more literary character study than plot-driven fantasy, but I enjoyed this debut and would happily spend more time in Wecker's world.

BostonPL_JordanD Mar 28, 2019

Title/Author: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Read This For: My library book group!
Series/Standalone: Book one of a series
Genre/sub-genre: Fantasy
Book Format: Print
Length: 486 pages
Violence: Yes
Well written/Editor Needed: Very well written!
Would I Recommend?: YES!
Personal thoughts: I really loved this book. It's so rich in details, but in a way that doesn't feel overwhelming. It's also rich in plot, that's also complicated, but everything has its place, even if some things feel a little too inconsequential at times. She reminded me of Ginn Hale's The Rifter series, just in how well it was written and how complicated and how it all came together in the end. I was surprised that we get to see what's happening through the eyes of so many different characters and they all had important stories to tell. I felt like I could easily trust that they were there for a reason. Not all writers can pull that off and keep me turning the pages. I liked each of the characters for reasons that are specific to each one and how they changed or didn't change based on what they were and what had happened to them through their lives. It was easy to care about so many of them, almost as if they were family.

This had a good, strong ending, but I'm interested to see where the author goes with the sequel she's currently working on!

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 19, 2018

A beautiful historical/fantasy novel about immigrants from Europe and the Middle East making their way in 1899 New York City – including a female Golem and a male Jinni. A Golem is a legendary being from Jewish folklore, formed from clay in the image of a human. A Jinni is an Arabic legendary magical being – a “Genie” in some stories.

The Golem was created by an immoral Jewish wizard, created as female to be an obedient wife to a man sailing to American. Only hours after awakening his “bride” on the ship, the man dies, leaving the Golem as a new-born innocent. The Jinni came to America trapped in a copper flask and is accidentally released by a Syrian Christian tinker hired to repair the flask; but he is still trapped in human form. Two non-human creatures, former slaves with no masters, unable to express who they really are, totally different from the humans around them, and forced to remain immigrants in this city which is fractured into cultural clusters from all over the world.

Of course, the Golem and the Jinni discover each other and form a hesitant friendship, based on mutual distress at first. Eventually they discover that a powerful enemy is out to capture or destroy them and they must work together to survive. This is a fairly long novel, but one to absorb, to live in. It is worth the hours you will devote to it, and I think it will stick with you a long time after.

Beatricksy Oct 01, 2018

A very gentle fantasy, more condensation on a window on a snowy day, a little bit of a glow on top of a simple story about human nature and culture and religion and above all immigration and the struggles of daily life in a strange place, and how out of place we can feel. A bit too wordy and lingering, though: despite elaborate settings and beautiful language and complex characters, I never felt more than passingly engaged in it. The ending was too abrupt and action-packed compared to the rest of the book and gave it a sloppy conclusion. I wanted to like it, and there's a lot to enjoy, with the gentle lilt of magic and the comparisons to Muslim and Jewish societies in 1899 New York. But the weak romance (bickering, primarily), the distance of the characters (thanks to constant scene swapping), the too-numerous-characters (all of which required deep introspection, which added to the Incredible length), and the plodding nature of the plot made me feel distant, like I was an unwelcome onlooker.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 04, 2018

Immigrants in early 20th century Manhattan - with a twist - they are mythical creatures from Jewish and Arab folklore. Even so - they will tear at your heartstrings!

Jan 06, 2018

The Golem and the Jinni is such a beautiful novel!! It is more historical fiction than fantasy, because the setting is New York City in 1899. I loved the emphasis on culture in the novel. Through the detailed writing style, I was immersed into the characters' ways of life. The main characters, Chava (the Golem) and Ahmad (the Jinni), are so realistic! They are both tremendously different from each other but go through similar challenges to assimilate into their new environments. I especially liked how the different threads and characters within the story came together to form one clear picture in the end. I highly recommend it!

May 04, 2017

Unusual read. Still entertaining and intriguing

DBRL_KatieL Mar 13, 2017

An interesting read, though slow for my taste-little sense rising action or overall threat that eventually have to be dealt with. The main part of the book are the two main characters settling into their lives in New York, and their forming a friendship after an accidental meeting about 1/3 of the way into the book. The main event is only the last 75 or so pages. The character development and setting is well done, and I found it interesting that though the characters took on human names they were only used in conversation with humans, not when the author referred to the characters. They were always 'the Jinni' or 'the Golem'. It helps to keep them as nonhuman characters who will never become human, or fully fit into human society. I do not think this book needed to be over 400 hundred pages, and I found myself ready for it to be done so I could move onto other books around page 250.

Jan 09, 2017

A bit too verbose. The story unraveled and lost its appeal after 200+ pages. A shame as it had so much potential.

Dec 05, 2016

Loved the characters, beautiful language, the description of late 1800s New York, and the weaving of myth with reality.

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Sep 07, 2019

GuineaPiggies thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Aug 22, 2018

aquiggles thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 20 and 75

DLands Mar 01, 2013

DLands thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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May 05, 2013

"sometimes men want what they don't have because they don't have it. Even if everyone offered to share, they would only want the share that wasn't theirs."


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