10 December 2013

Today's Read: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene WeckerWhat if you were not human but were forced to spend your life in one of the biggest cities of the world pretending to be a man or a woman, hiding your secret at all costs? This was how it was for the golem Chava and the jinni Ahmad, neither of whom chose to be in New York City in 1899.

The Golem's life began in the hold of a steamship. The year was 1899; the ship was the Baltika, crossing from Danzig to New York. The Golem's master, a man named Otto Rotfeld, had smuggled her aboard in a crate and hidden her among the luggage.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Weckler (HarperCollins / Harper, 2013, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: 1899, New York City (Little Syria and the Lower East Side), the Syrian dessert, Prussia; centuries earlier in the Mideast
  • Circumstances: a newborn golem (a woman made of clay) without a master and an ageless jinni freed from centuries of imprisonment couldn't be more different, yet they are bound together in complex ways
  • Characters: Chava and Ahmad; their human friends and enemies
  • Genre: historical fiction with elements of Jewish mysticism and Arabian tales
  • Themes: friendship; the meaning of bondage or being beholden; personal sacrifice; desire & longing; compassion; power; death; free will; freedom
  • Thoughts on the book: Fascinating and moving; you can't help but empathize with the two creatures who struggle to find their place in the strange human world they've been forced to inhabit. A novel that can be read on many levels: great story, allegory, commentary on religious beliefs or humanity or the craving for independence. Begs to be discussed, thought about, and re-read. One of my top reads of the year.
  • Thoughts on the audiobook: The unabridged audiobook edition (Harper Audio, 19 hr, 43 min) was read by George Guidall, who was absolutely fabulous. He handled the multiple accents with ease, brought out the personalities of the characters without being dramatic, and augmented the emotional impact of Weckler's story. Guidall's performance is spectacular, making this an unforgettable audiobook experience.
  • Extras: For more on 1899 New York City, an author video, and an interesting and informative Q&A, visit the author's website; for book club discussion questions, visit Reading Group Guides; the novel was an Indie Next pick for May 2013 and a Bloggers Recommend pick; the audiobook won an earphones award from AudioFile magazine
ISBN-13: 9780062110831
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Natalie @ Book Lovers Life 12/10/13, 5:44 AM  

Ive never heard of this but it sounds intriguing!! Thanks for sharing.

Karen and Gerard 12/10/13, 5:48 AM  

Sounds interesting! Here's ours: http://www.ourstack.blogspot.com/2013/12/tuesday-teasers-four-for-you.html

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 12/10/13, 7:13 AM  

Nope, this one would not be the type of book I'd read, but I hope that you enjoy it.

Thanks for sharing though and hope you enjoy the book.

Anonymous,  12/10/13, 7:23 AM  

The book is new to me, but it definitely sounds intriguing. I love golems, nice to see one playing the main role for once!

Check out my Teaser for this week.

JoAnn 12/10/13, 7:32 AM  

This book really doesn't appeal to me, but all the reviews seem so positive and make me wonder if I should reconsider. Maybe on audio...

rhapsodyinbooks 12/10/13, 8:05 AM  

Isn't this so fun and creative? I want a sequel! :--)

Amanda 12/10/13, 8:54 AM  

This is a really amazing book! Definitely one of my top books of the year too!

Daryl 12/10/13, 9:12 AM  

sounds intriguing ... thanks!

SuziQoregon 12/10/13, 9:43 AM  

I hadn't paid much attention until you mentioned on Twitter about this being your new 'everyone has to read this book. Now it's on my TBR.

Tina 12/10/13, 10:04 AM  

Even tho it's not something I would ordinarily read, I loved this one. I plan to re-read and recommend to our book club. Lushly layered and you're spot on about the audio too.

bermudaonion 12/10/13, 10:30 AM  

This is probably too fantastical for me but my sister would probably love it.

Sandra Nachlinger 12/10/13, 10:53 AM  

Pretending to be what you're not makes for great conflict in a story. I'll read this one.
My Teaser is from CHRISTMAS CALLING.

Laurel-Rain Snow 12/10/13, 11:03 AM  

I probably wouldn't pick it up, but after your introduction, I am now intrigued. Thanks for sharing...and here's MY TUESDAY MEMES POST

kayerj 12/10/13, 11:52 AM  

I've come across this book more than once and thought I'd like to read it. Kelley at the road goes ever ever on

Kailana 12/10/13, 1:13 PM  

I started this, was really liking it, and then never finished it... It is the theme of my reading year! I must get back to it!

CHRISTIE 12/10/13, 1:57 PM  

This is new to me :) Very intriguing teaser!

Mine is here: http://thefictionenthusiast.blogspot.com/2013/12/teaser-tuesday-december-10th.html

Heather 12/10/13, 2:42 PM  

I saw this one mentioned elsewhere recently and it does sound interesting. Glad you enjoyed it! My teaser: A Carol For a Corpse

Literary Feline 12/10/13, 3:15 PM  

I've heard such wonderful things about this book and am looking forward to reading it.

Nise' 12/10/13, 3:22 PM  

I was intrigued and when read it will be on your top reads list, it sealed the deal.

Ellie @ Ellie Reads All the Books 12/10/13, 3:51 PM  

I have heard great things about this book and your teaser is really intriguing!

Margot 12/11/13, 12:45 AM  

The book's not really my cup of tea but I do it's fun for you. One thing I've been meaning to say is that I just love the way you start your Today's Read posts. It's always an intriguing question that gives me pause and makes me think. Thanks for doing that.

Kingem 12/11/13, 6:12 AM  

I urge everyone who is even slightly intrigued to read the first chapter! Its not my usual type of read and I was skeptical, too but it ended up being my favorite book of 2012! It succeeds on multiple levels and I couldn't put it down HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Man of la Book 12/11/13, 8:28 AM  

I really liked The Golem and the Jinny (http://manoflabook.com/wp/?p=8188), a unique blending of two different cultural stories which form a unique take.

Athira 12/12/13, 1:53 PM  

I would love to read this one. It's on my list to read before the end of the year but with the holidays, I may have to wait until next year.

Thanks for stopping by. I read all comments and may respond here, via e-mail, or on your blog. I visit everyone who comments, but not necessarily right away.

I cannot turn off word verification, but if you are logged into Blogger you can ignore the captcha. I have set posts older than 14 days to be on moderation. I can no longer accept anonymous comments. I'm so sorry if this means you have to register or if you have trouble commenting.


All content and photos (except where noted) copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads 2008-2020. All rights reserved.



To The Blogger Guide, Blogger Buster, Tips Blogger, Our Blogger Templates, BlogU, and Exploding Boy for the code for customizing my blog. To Old Book Illustrations for my ID photo. To SEO for meta-tag analysis. To Blogger Widgets for the avatars in my comments and sidebar gadgets. To Review of the Web for more gadgets. To SuziQ from Whimpulsive for help with my comments section. To Cool Tricks N Tips for my Google +1 button.

Quick Linker



  © Blogger template Coozie by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP