The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1), by Helene Wecker
Publish Date: April 1, 2013 (audiobook published April 23, 2013)
Published by: HarperCollins
Narrated by: George Guidall
Length: 19 hrs 42 min (484 pages)
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free
Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinniweaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
This was a pleasure to listen to, with wonderful world-building, a plethora of characters and intertwining stories, and an over-arcing plot that was beautiful and captivating. I think my only issue was that it felt like it took forever for things to happen in the beginning, which was mostly filled with descriptions and character origin stories, but still interesting. Once the jinni and the golem finally met though, well the story just got better from there. I loved their contrasting personalities and how that didn’t drive them apart but rather made them even closer and their dynamic together just made me constantly smile. This book was a feat, considering it was almost 20 hours in audiobook, but it was well worth the listen, with its mystical plotline and setting that is wonderfully rendered.