The Golem and the Jinni

The Golem and the Jinni

A Novel

eBook - 2013
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"An intoxicating fusion of fantasy and historical fiction. . . . Wecker's storytelling skills dazzle." —Entertainment Weekly

A marvelous and absorbing debut novel about a chance meeting between two supernatural creatures in turn-of-the-century immigrant New York.

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay by a disgraced rabbi knowledgeable in the ways of dark Kabbalistic magic. She serves as the wife to a Polish merchant who dies at sea on the voyage to America. As the ship arrives in New York in 1899, Chava is unmoored and adrift until a rabbi on the Lower East Side recognizes her for the creature she is and takes her in.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert and trapped centuries ago in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard. Released by a Syrian tinsmith in a Manhattan shop, Ahmad appears in human form but is still not free. An iron band around his wrist binds him to the wizard and to the physical world.

Chava and Ahmad meet accidentally and become friends and soul mates despite their opposing natures. But when the golem's violent nature overtakes her one evening, their bond is challenged. An even more powerful threat will emerge, however, and bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their very existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

Compulsively readable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, in a wondrously inventive tale that is mesmerizing and unforgettable.


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HCL_staff_reviews Sep 10, 2020

1899 in the heart of New York's Syrian and Jewish immigrant communities both a Golem and a Jinni find themselves unexpectedly set free and vulnerable in a hostile environment. For the Golem, a creature designed to be controlled by a master, this freedom is a frightening prospect, a mysterious existence where she must fight her innate desire to serve every need in order to hide her true abilities. For the Jinni, he is set free from a bottle where he has been imprisoned for a thousand years, yet the iron band around his wrist hampers his actual freedom and traps him in a human form with some but not all of his powers. He finds himself an ocean away from the desert home he longs to return to. These two form an unlikely friendship based on their unique situations as outsiders in a strange land. Add in an evil wizard who is hunting for them both and this fast paced, unusual and magical tale is a real winner. The audio version is narrated by George Guidall, who does his usual masterful job of storytelling. -- Beth B., Minneapolis Central Library

Jul 31, 2020

SOOOOOO good! Loved it! Historical/fantasy at its very best. Can't wait for the sequel!

Hillsboro_RobP Jun 16, 2020

High quality stuff that bounces between completely original and trope-following but still enjoyable. It contained some of the best treatment of religion in literature I've read for any genre- different perspectives with no one that just sounded like a mouth-piece. It was a large part of the story without any kind of agenda, and it worked very well.
In all, a very good read that uses all of its little pieces brilliantly both in the plot and to construct an immigrant's New York of tiny towns in a super-sized city. The only thing that confuses me is that this book appears to have a sequel. Very curious to see that.

Jhoward16 Apr 28, 2020

I loved this book so much! Highly recommend it. I haven't read such a "classic" tale in a long time. I found the characters fascinating and learned for the first time what a Golem is. While I was rooting for the Golem, Chava, the whole time, the Jinni, Ahmad would sometimes let his pride get in the way of making the right moral decision. I really enjoyed the author's writing style and how invested I became in the story. After I finished, I wanted to recommend it to everyone! It's a great book club pick too. We chose it for our book club and had a great discussion.

JCLJuliaV Apr 02, 2020

A solid historical fantasy with strong, complex characters that grow throughout the story. This is a fascinating read. Chava the golem and Ahmad the jinni are two mythical beings that, by definition, exist to serve. But when both are left masterless in a nation of independence, they must each find a way to adjust to their new lives. The friendship they develop becomes essential to that end. Living among mortals is difficult enough, but it soon becomes dangerous when Chava's creator learns of her freedom and seeks to end it. Can two such powerful beings really live peacefully among humans? Trust me, this is a drama you wouldn't want to miss!

Jan 25, 2020

I was engrossed by the plights of the characters in this novel and wanted to see what would happen to them next. However, it felt to me that the author had several ideas for the end, couldn’t decide which one to go with, and so she included them all. The emotional payoff of the close of the book is diluted by having several crises build at the same time, so that none of them stands out as particularly interesting or exciting. On the whole, though, I did enjoy the book and do recommend it to others, primarily on the strength of the memorable characters.

Jan 22, 2020

I loved the well developed characters that populated this story. I loved the rich storyline and the historical detail. I am eager for the sequel and will recommend this as a book club book.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Jan 02, 2020

Interesting historical/fantasy/romance. Apparently there is a sequel in the works...which I will be checking out for sure.

Dec 29, 2019

It’s been a while since I have been so taken by the premise of a book and upon completion of reading, its one of my favorite books of 2019. A golem, a Jewish “slave” is made from clay by an outcast Rabbi to become the wife of a man heading to America. This golem is different. She is intelligent and cares along with her overriding need to be a servant. When her “husband” dies on the immigrant boat to America, the golem learns how to survive with the help of an elderly New York rabbi. Her life becomes intertwined with that of a djinn who has been imprisoned in a copper flask for over 1000 years. Turn of the century New York City is a perfect setting for this unusual story of friendship and loyalty.

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.

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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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