Quotes & Notes: The Golem & The Jinni by Helene Wecker



It took him nearly two hours to find the crate. Two hours of picking his way through stacks of suitcases and boxes bound with twine. His stomach burned and cold sweat dripped into his eyes. Finally he moved aside a rolled up carpet, and there it was: his crate. And in it, his bride.

[…] Heart pounding, he pulled the paper from his pocket and carefully sounded out the command “To wake the golem.” He held his breath and waited.

Slowly, the golem came to life. First to wake were her senses. She felt a roughness of wood under her fingertips. The cold damp air on her skin. She sensed the movement of the boat. She smelled mildew and the tang of seawater. She woke a little more and knew she had a body. The fingertips that felt the wood were her own. The skin that the air chilled was her skin. She moved a finger to see if she could. She heard a man nearby breathing. She knew his name and who he was. He was her master, her entire purpose. She was his golem, bound to his will. And right now, he wanted her to open her eyes.

The golem opened her eyes.


Hooray for the first audiobook of 2014! Finding and recording my favorite quotes is a little bit harder when it comes to audiobooks. I’m not always thinking about language the same way I am when I am reading. Audible does have a bookmark feature where you can make a note, but I only bookmarked one section and, while it’s an important part of the book, I don’t think it’s the most beautiful or representative quote from the entire thing.

I liked this book very much, but I don’t have strong feelings about it. I think my favorite thing was the combination of traditions from Jewish folklore and Syrian folklore, but I was a little bit tired of this story by the end of it. It felt a little long, but I’m not sure I would have felt the same way if I were reading it instead of listening to it. I’m beginning to wonder if I really like audiobooks that are this long, but I’ve downloaded quite a few long ones with my most recent Audible credits, so we’ll see if this is a trend going forward.

If The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is the perfect book to remind you of summer and being outside, The Golem and the Jinni is the perfect book to wallow in winter in New York. I do love reading about the time period, turn of the century, especially turn of the century New York, and I would have loved even more details about the different communities and what the city looked like back then.

The narrator was good, but it felt like he read the book so slowly. I ended up with the audio on double speed pretty quickly.My very favorite parts of this novel were when the golem and the jinni would walk together through the city and discuss the strange humans they lived with. I never wanted it to end, but of course the plot had to keep moving and it did.



20 thoughts on “Quotes & Notes: The Golem & The Jinni by Helene Wecker

  1. I haven’t read this yet, but you’ve steered me away from the audio version. I really dislike when the narrators read too slowly as it just takes me out of the experience.

    1. Sometimes it bothers me, sometimes I don’t mind, but his slow narration really drove me nuts this time around. The fast speed sounds silly at first, but you do kind of get used to it.

  2. I liked it but I think it would be different listening to it. I get tired of quite a few audiobooks even when they’re good, just because it takes so long to listen instead of read!

    1. I know what you mean! I have to be in the right mood for audiobooks. Sometimes I prefer them when I’m on the subway because holding a book can be tough on a packed train.

  3. I’m just fixing to read this book too! It’s our next podcast book, and I have to have the whole thing read by next week, but I haven’t even started it. Hopefully it won’t feel as long when I’m reading it in print format!

    1. I’m excited to hear what you think! I know a lot of people have loved it, but I wonder if others will feel my sort of like-but-not-love reaction.

    1. The only thing I have to say about reading it in winter is it feels like a book that’s very much about winter. Sometimes I didn’t want to read about all that snow when I was trudging through it in the real world! Since this book I’ve only read summery things.

    1. This is one that I started and didn’t finish as a print book and came back to as an audio, so I definitely think it’s one to try again!

  4. I’d really like to read this. Is it very dreamy? I’ve read two books set in New York and reading another one now, and all coincidences! This could be another one to add to the NY reading list.

    1. I’m not sure I would describe it as dreamy, to be honest. It has dreamy moments, especially in the jinni’s flashbacks, but overall I don’t think so. It IS a good New York book, though.

      1. I thought I posted a reply but it’s lost. Anyway, I don’t know what it is about me and these NYC books recently. They all just happened to end up together on my nightstand and I picked them up consecutively by chance. Weird! I feel like it’s a sign that I should go back.

        On this Golem and Jinni book, I was hoping it would be something like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (although I do accept the fact that nothing perhaps will be more brilliant than that).

  5. I’m a bit sad to hear that you didn’t like this one a little bit more than you did. I just picked it up during a Kindle sale and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I do think that books feel longer on audio, especially if they’re not books that are really captivating. Now that I don’t have a commute and it takes me forever to get through an audio, 10 hours seems to be my limit. A long cry from those 40+ hour King books I was listening to!

    1. I definitely think it has to do with the audio versus the print here, as to why I didn’t like it more! I do wish I had read it. I think 14 hours really feels like my limit these days.

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