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The Golem and the Jinni

(The Golem and the Jinni #1)

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4.11  ·  Rating details ·  85,424 ratings  ·  11,514 reviews
In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life 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 Yor
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Paperback, International Edition, 486 pages
Published April 15th 2013 by HarperCollins (first published April 1st 2013)
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Magaidhbhan The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern had a similar magical-realism feel and similar lush, evocative prose. Also, if you haven't read American Gods…moreThe Night Circus by Erin Morganstern had a similar magical-realism feel and similar lush, evocative prose. Also, if you haven't read American Gods (Neil Gaiman), I'd definitely recommend that too!(less)
Muthsarah I'm barely 100 pages into it, and I'm LOOOOOOOOOOVING it. It's detailed, nuanced, but it never reads NOT slowly. It doesn't get bogged down. There are…moreI'm barely 100 pages into it, and I'm LOOOOOOOOOOVING it. It's detailed, nuanced, but it never reads NOT slowly. It doesn't get bogged down. There are so many colorful characters, they're all instantly identifiable....

...actually, the book is such an easy read, it could almost count as YA....except that it's clearly much too well written. It's not pulpy. It's not pandering. It's just...easy to read.

Honestly, disclosure, I was a total mark for this book. Light fantasy. Victorian/Edwardian setting. I'm a steampunk fan, and of history in general. No steampunk here, really, but all the same, it has most of the ingredients to shoot straight to my heart. I chose the book based on a little bit of info alone (Nebula award, 1899, golem, jinni), and it's been just a perfect read from the first coupla pages. I'm already feeling a little scared about finishing this book. I'm not a fast reader (the mind wanders, but that's one reason I read, to get it wandering in new directions), but I'm already aware I'm going through the book faster than I want to. And as the book's almost 500 pages, that seems crazy.

Maybe it's the most fun book I've read in years. I think...maybe it is. It combines the casual, conversational narrative style of a fairy tale with character insights and atmospheric details usually gleaned from really dense, highly-researched alt-history fiction. But it reads like a simple novel.

I can still put it down (because I'm too busy not to), but I don't think I've enjoyed a book in years as much as I'm currently enjoying this one.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.11  · 
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 ·  85,424 ratings  ·  11,514 reviews


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Will Byrnes
I am trying something a little different here. I found The Golem and the Jinni to be a fun, magical fairy tale of a romance with a fair bit of excitement to it. But it is pretty clear that this is also a serious, literary work, raising meaningful philosophical questions, while using the folklore of two different cultures to inform the immigrant experience, offering a fascinating look at a place and time, and linking the experiences of the old and new worlds. These two takes seemed to call for di ...more
Emily May
All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how many people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears.

Unsure what to think as I finally took the plunge into this 19th-Century New York tale of friendship, different cultures and, of course, magic, I found myself completely transported to another world.

I understand why readers often call The Golem and the Jinni "fantasy" - it certainly has the depth, epic sc
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Mitch
Apr 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-memorable
Just this once, I wish I could say 'The Golem and the Jinni is awesome. Trust me.' and just leave it at that. Not only because it is, but also because Helene Wecker's debut novel is a hard book to put into words, full of wonder and meaning, and an experience I don't think any review can fully do justice to. Still, even though I'll probably miss things, here goes...

Chava is a golem. Ahmad is a jinni. This is not a story of their chance encounter and subsequent whirlwind romance among century ago
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Pouting Always
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh man, the book was a little long but it was so worth it. The pacing was excellent and I really enjoyed the unique story line and the way everything comes together in the end. There is nothing better to me than a well executed story line where everything seems to have a purpose and ties into the larger arc of what's happening. Also I really enjoyed the way that Chava and Ahmed's relationship is developed because it never felt like the rest of what was going on every becomes secondary to it whic ...more
Felicia
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books of the year. I didn't know a ton about it going in, other than the gorgeous cover, and I'm very glad I didn't. It is a historical urban fantasy of sorts, about a Golem and a Djinn separately stranded in turn-of-the-century New York city. The two character's storylines intertwine beautifully, with themes of identity, religion and friendship weaving in and out of a wonderfully detailed world. If you liked The Night Circus, or Dr Strange and Mr. Norrell, you'll real ...more
Bradley
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm really quite amazed at the things this novel does right. It's a detailed and grand scaled historical romance as well as being a delightful hop in magical realism, but I couldn't help make direct connections to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

But not because many of the ideas are the same. They aren't. What is the same is the length and the attention to historicism and the depth of the real history and especially the depth of the magic. The length of the novel and beautiful prose also has a
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Heidi The Reader
This is the story of a golem and a jinni, how they discover who they are, their strengths, their weaknesses, and how, even though they're composed of completely different elements, they may just be the best friend for each other in a human world where they will never truly belong.

As I was reading The Golem and the Jinni, enjoying their adventures and waiting to see how they would discover their origins, I didn't consider for a moment the idea that the tale could be a metaphor for something else.
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Faye, la Patata
How could I possibly review this in the most coherent way?

This book, a debut at that, is one of the best I've read this year. No, scratch that, it's THE best I've read in a long time, easily knocking over the ones I've gushed in the past few weeks to nothing. After turning the last page, I just knew it would be among my all-time favorites, together with A Monster Calls, Written in Red, and Blood Song. I've never felt this hypnotized, amazed, and captivated; the level of mesmerization is just so
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Isa Lavinia


This is a truly difficult book to rate, mostly because what faults I can find, I find them in myself as a reader.

The premise of the story in perfect, Chava is a golem created to become the wife of a creepy little man who dies soon after he brings her to life. So now we have Chava, a masterless golem, a creature of clay, newly arrived in turn of the century New York.

Ahmad was trapped in a bottle for over a thousand years by a wizard, and imagine his surprise to find himself in an unheard of con
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Michael
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: will byrnes
A wonderful tale I hated to put down, couldn’t wait to resume whenever I did, and felt sad when it was over. A great blend of fantasy and historical fiction that explores what it means to be human amid the multicultural blend of immigrants trying to achieve their dreams in New York City at the end of the 19th century.

We follow the lives of two mythic creatures trying to pass as human, living parallel lives and slowly drawn into a common path. Chava appears as a woman and was recently made as a G
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Simona Bartolotta
"And if she was meant to be curious, did that mean she could take no credit for her own discoveries, her accomplishments? Had she nothing of her own, only what Joseph Schall decreed she should have?"

This is a book that works its magic in silence. You don't expect it to be what it is, to give you what it gives you. This is a subtle book; a book that sneaks up on you when you least expect it, and that, for all that it gives, expects something in return. The breath that more than once you couldn't
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Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net
See this review and more like it on www.bookbastion.net!
_________

“All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how any people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears.”


This book has been one of those ones that hung out on my TBR list far longer than it should.

I would catch a glimpse of this book in bookstores and debate picking up a copy, only to pass over it when another book caught my eye. I bought i
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Celeste
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Celeste by: Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Full review now posted!

Actual rating: 4.5 stars

Wecker crafted one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time in The Golem and the Jinni, and I’m so glad that I finally took time to read it.

I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for four years. You read that right. Four. YEARS. I’m ashamed, I tell you. I bought it because it was cheap and the cover was pretty and I promptly returned to my regular reading. The premise sounded interesting, it really did, but it was just strange enough for
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Kelly
Huh. Well, this was deeply... okay. Wecker set up an interesting and fairly straightforward concept: Two supernatural beings in the turn of the century New York, trying to make their way in the New World, an exaggerated metaphor for the immigrant experience and the human condition. Fair enough. And there was some lovely atmospheric writing at the start that both helped to build the historical world and the supernatural feeling while she built her world and info-dumped all the information we need ...more
Diane
I really enjoyed this novel that blended historical fiction with some fantasy. It's the story of a young woman made of clay (the golem), and a male genie who had been trapped in a copper flask for centuries (the jinni).

But really, this is the story of immigrants in America. The book is set in New York in 1899, and we see how difficult it was to be a "stranger in a strange land." The golem came to life because a businessman wanted a wife he could control, and the jinni was accidentally released b
...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

This was exactly what I wanted it to be. Gorgeous book!

RTC.
Mark Lawrence
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book. It's a gentle book, concerned with people, spiced by having both of the main point of view characters being supernatural creatures, namely a newly created golem and an ancient jinni. Both of these arrive in turn of the 19th/20th century New York and have to find their feet in the appropriate diaspora (i.e. Jewish and Syrian). The two cultures, as realised within New York at a time when Lady Liberty's arms really were wide open to immigrants, are expertly and accurately ...more
David
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell"
If you claim you like fantasy but you don't like this book, then what you like is silly wizards and hot werewolf-on-chick action, or else secondary world fantasy with elves and dragons and lost swords and shit, which is all well and good but I'm gonna be totally judgmental about any so-called fantasy fan who doesn't like this book because it's "too long" or too "slow-moving" or whatever stupid reason it failed to score with you. The Golem and the Jinni is a carefully constructed modern fable wri ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

Despite the obvious suggestion from the title and despite the supernatural nature of the main characters, for me this is not a novel about a golem and a jinni. It is the story of two ordinary people, immigrants like millions others coming to New York in the year 1899, there to learn how to deal with being uprooted from their birth lands, with being alone and lost in an alien culture, with how to slowly emerge from their hard protective shells and how to rely on each other. Maybe even to learn ho
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
$1.99 Kindle sale, August 2, 2017. 4.5 stars for this thoughtful, original fantasy about an unlikely friendship between a golem (an immensely strong animated being magically formed of clay) and a jinni (genie), set mostly in 1899 New York City. Chava, the golem woman, was secretly made by a rabbi using forbidden Kabbalistic magic, to be a wife for another man, bound to obey his every command. When that man dies on the ship to America, she is at loose ends without a master, trying to decide how t ...more
Basuhi
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Lovers looking for something different for once.
Shelves: fantasy

When folklores from two diverse cultures tie the knots, it's a fantasy lover's dream come true.


In this (almost) retrograde YA era of lascivious vampires, snarky witches, quasi-enigmatic aliens and some inane Greek heroes, someone needs to remind us that fantasy is something more than this carousel of cliches and cloying monotony. And that Helene Wecker does, with an unprecedented eloquence and a meticulously crafted fantasy setting weaved within the 19th century America.

Jinni, the Arabic myth
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Aisha
May 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd have given this four stars if I'd enjoyed this book more. Don't get me wrong, it's is very, very well and richly written. The pacing was just a bit slower than I was expecting (though necessarily so for the meandering story being woven together). I wasn't quite satisfied with the ending - somethings were tied up too neatly, other things left too open-ended for my tastes - but this was a failing on my part and not the book's.

EDIT: Actually, after a lot of thought, I'm bumping this down to a t
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Helen
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After finishing this lovely and lyrical book on Saturday afternoon, I continued holding it for a while, reluctant to let it go, to put it down on the bedside table, wanting to stay wrapped in the translucent veil of the story just a little longer.

Here are the bare bones of the plot. A golem and a jinni find themselves in turn-of-the-century New York. To fit in, the golem becomes a baker. The jinni becomes a tinsmith.

But oh, there’s so much more. This book is like a fable, a new folktale.

Once upo
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Jo
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was beautiful. It was written incredibly well, I loved the plot and the characters and it was really quite unique in comparison to other books I've read. There were a few things that irritated me, though, and I feel these things let the book down, and my final rating for it.

Firstly, the front cover. THE FRONT COVER! I just have so much love for a beautiful book cover, and this one is no exception. This one is that mesmerising, I'd purchase the book without reading the blurb. Madness y
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colleen the convivial curmudgeon
2.5

I first heard about this book recently when a friend read it and said he was very impressed with it - he said it was much better than what he was expecting. Then it kept popping up in a couple of groups I'm in, and between everyone seeming to be well impressed with it, and it seeming to be a sort of thing I would like, being a fan of historical fantasy in general, and various cultural mythos in particular, I figured I'd give it a go.

So I'm a bit sad to say that I wasn't really all that wowed
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Paula W
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
If you like Harry Potter, you need to read this. If you like any YA book, you need to read this. If you prefer other-type fantasy novels like The Lord of the Rings, you need to read this. If you think all of those things are beneath you because you only read literary stuff, you need to read this. The Golem and the Jinni is not simply any one of those types of books. It is all of them, very intricately and expertly woven together.

It is difficult for me to believe that this was Wecker's
...more
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
There just are not enough stars - I just finished this fantastic book! The Golem and the Jinni was crafted like a fine weaving of well phrased words. I admit I do not know much about Jewish or Arab cultures, 1890 New York is also a new subject for me. I was enthralled by the magic that is so artfully presented in this lovely story! Even things that are frightening have such an empathetic edge, they are softened to be quite palatable. The research seems thorough, very believable, I learned about ...more
[Shai] Bibliophage
This book was on my TBR for a long time and I was always finding a way to squeeze it to my list of the books I'm currently reading. Recently, I found enough time to read this novel and it didn't disappoint me. It exceeds my expectation because the character and story build up was to look forward to.

What I like about this novel is that it makes us believe that destiny could bring two individuals together because of an unlikely circumstance or in their case, a greedy human. Their dilemma made the
...more
Nick
Jan 10, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
description

One of the most awesome covers I have ever seen.Maybe the best of the best!



description
Vitor Martins
5 Motivos para ler Golem e o Gênio https://youtu.be/Db34I5hxmgI

--

QUE LIVRO INCRÍVEL!
Personagens maravilhosos envolvidos numa história que eu nunca mais vou esquecer. Enxergar a Nova York do século XX através dessa escrita MARAVILHOSA foi uma experiência muito marcante.
O livro não perde o ritmo nem por uma página. São mais de 500 páginas e nenhuma delas tem qualquer tipo de enrolação. Todas as histórias de todos os personagens estão ligadas de uma certa forma essas conexões me surpreenderam bast
...more
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2,404 followers
Helene Wecker grew up in Libertyville, Illinois, a small town north of Chicago, and received her Bachelor's in English from Carleton College in Minnesota. After graduating, she worked a number of marketing and communications jobs in Minneapolis and Seattle before deciding she wanted to write something longer than a press release. Accordingly, she moved to New York to pursue a Master's in fiction w ...more

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The Golem and the Jinni (2 books)
  • The Iron Season (The Golem and the Jinni, #2)
“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.” 143 likes
“All of us are lonely at some point or another, no matter how any people surround us. And then, we meet someone who seems to understand. She smiles, and for a moment the loneliness disappears.” 103 likes
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