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The Golem and the Jinni

by Helene Wecker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Golem and the Jinni (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,2473541,934 (4.12)409
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.
  1. 71
    The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Iudita)
  2. 94
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (spacemoth, unlucky)
    unlucky: Both have magic hidden in a historical setting, and both have the same kind of atmosphere.
  3. 72
    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (sturlington, Othemts)
    sturlington: The author said it inspired her.
  4. 31
    The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud (passion4reading)
    passion4reading: An example of a successful combination of different cultural/mystical elements, with a djinni and - surprisingly - a golem.
  5. 21
    The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Anjali.Negi)
  6. 10
    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Othemts)
  7. 10
    The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (sturlington)
  8. 00
    The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab (soelo)
  9. 00
    The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (Othemts)
  10. 013
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (capetowncanada)
    capetowncanada: After reading George R.R. Martin I've had a hard time finding anything that measures up. This does just that, a well written and imaginative story of two fabled creatures in 1899 NY.

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» See also 409 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 354 (next | show all)
I finally read this after it had been talked up to me by friends for years. I may be one of the few people who didn't really think it was that great of a read. I don't know exactly what I didn't like because the characters were well developed and the author clearly has a lot of knowledge of NY in that time period, but at the end of the day it wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  Moshepit20 | Nov 4, 2023 |
I was thrilled with the sample for this book. It hooked me from the beginning, had a lovely, literary voice, and the characters seemed to come to life before me. Unfortunately, that same literary quality that I loved so much made the book fall apart for me in the later chapters. It felt slow and self-indulgent at times, and there were dozens of pages upon pages where nothing happened. The story became tedious, and I had to force myself to finish. It's such a shame, because I adore fantasy, and the occasional literary novel. I thought combining the two was brilliant. It's just too bad it couldn't hold my interest. ( )
  Elizabeth_Cooper | Oct 27, 2023 |
I love love loved this book. It's about a (Jewish) golem and an (Arab) jinni (genie) who meet in turn of the century NYC. It's beautifully written and full of historical detail. The various backstories of the main characters wind loosely around each other and get connected and intertwined bit by bit until the story comes to a climax. I was so sad for this book to end! ( )
  Bebe_Ryalls | Oct 20, 2023 |
This is the slowest novel I've read in a long time.
I liked following the lives of the protagonists but I couldn't stand waiting endlessly for the obvious to happen.
This is the reason I dropped the book. I got sick and tired of waiting for the plot, which is obviously being set up, to happen. I would've loved reading the same world, same protagonists but without this painfully slow plot.
I haven't actually seen much of the plot itself yet but the basic setup is incredibly obvious and I found the suspense very tiring beyond a certain point.
It felt like dying of thirst while only being able to drink through an absurdly thin straw.

The main bad guy was introduced early on and revealed as the antagonist sometime later, but up to the 50% mark there didn't actually happen ANYTHING. We know who he is, we know what he wants, and a few very cheap plot conveniences have been put in place early on to provide him with the means. I've listened to 10 hours of very enjoyable nothing but I am not willing to wait another 8 hours for the plot to finally happen.

Something I loved about this book is how things are complicated. This is something most books I've read fail at miserably and which is one of the main reasons a lot of writing appears so cheap and clichéed.
Even if the only way of saving the universe is to accomplish some impossible task, things just seem too simple, too neat most of the time.
The world is messy and convoluted. Things just don't align nicely.
On one hand, this book nails this in regards to the cast and their individual backstories but on the other hand, it very much fails at this exact hurdle in regards to the actual plot.

The protagonists are complex and flawed enough to be interesting and the author managed to give an amazing sense of time and place.

I enjoyed the various philosophical discussions that characters had with each other and the author had with the reader or whatnot.

Maybe I am just damaged by the fast-food of fantasy I'm reading most of the time. ( )
  omission | Oct 19, 2023 |
My actual rating is a 3.5. Entertaining, and I would like to know what happens next. I had trouble liking the Golem. ( )
  Maryjane75 | Sep 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 354 (next | show all)
The title characters of “The Golem and the Jinni” are not the book’s only magic. The story is so inventive, so elegantly written and so well constructed that it’s hard to believe this is a first novel. Clearly, otherworldly forces were involved.
added by karenb | editStar-Tribune, Curt Schleier (Jun 15, 2013)
You think a relationship is complicated when a woman is from Venus and a man is from Mars? Trust me, that’s a piece of cake compared with the hurdles that a modest golem and a mercurial jinni face when they fall in love.
The sometimes slow pace picks up considerably as the disparate characters decipher the past and try to save the souls variously threatened by the golem and the jinni, as well as by the Jewish conjurer and (surprise) a Syrian wizard. The interplay of loyalties and the struggle to assert reason over emotion keep the pages flipping.
added by karenb | editNew York Times, Susan Cokal (May 16, 2013)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wecker, Heleneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beals, Jesse TarboxCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ljoenes, RichardCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruoto, WilliamDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For Kareem
First words
The Golem's life began in the hold of a steamship.
"A man might desire something for a moment, while a larger part of him rejects it. You'll need to learn to judge people by their actions, not their thoughts."
You must learn how to act according to what people say and do, not what they wish or fear.
These were the world's first people. Everything they did, every action and decision, was entirely new, without precedent. They had no larger society to turn to, no examples of how to behave. They only had the Almighty to tell them right from wrong. And like children, if His commands ran counter to their desires, sometimes they chose not to listen. And then they learned that there are consequences to one's actions.
As the daughter of one of the richest and most prominent families in New York--indeed, in the country--it had been made clear to her, in ways both subtle and overt, that she was expected to little more than simply exist, biding her time and minding her manners until she made a suitable match and continued the family line. Her future unrolled before her like a dreadful tapestry, its pattern set and immutable. There would be a wedding, and then a house somewhere nearby on the avenue, with a nursery for the children that were, of course, mandatory.
"Once a golem develops a taste for destruction," the old rabbi said, "little can stop it save the words that destroy it. Not all golems are as crude or stupid as this one, but all share the same essential nature. They are tools of man, and they are dangerous. Once they have disposed of their enemies they will turn on their masters. They are creatures of last resort. Remember that."
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Magical beings
Seeking truth, learning goodness
Mud and fire endure
Old world to New World
The story of immigrants
In fire and in clay. (captainfez)

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