It's official. I am addicted to audio books. With a 30 mile commute each way, which can sometimes take me up to 2 hours, audio books have been my saving grace.
The Golem and the Jinni was a book that left me pondering for days and days.
Prior to listening to this book, the only time I had ever heard the term Golem before was in the Lord of the Rings. Though that is a GOLLUM, not a GOLEM. Two totally different characters.
In Jewish folklore, a Golem is an animated anthropomorphic being magically created from inanimate matter. In the case of this golem, she was made from clay. And she was made to look as human as possible, with real hair, and even fingernails. She was made to be a man's wife, and the man who made her, Yehudan Schaalman is a failed rabbinical student turned powerful folk-magician.
And on the other hand, we have the Jinni. Yes, a GENIE. A jinni In Middle Eastern and Muslim mythology, is a spirit made of smokeless flame. A jinni (or, to use the plural, jinn) is usually invisible to humans, but can be seen when it wants to be.
Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th Century, this story takes the reader through the areas of Little Syria, and the Lower East Side.
As the Golem and the Jinni live among the people of their culture, they are noticed as being a bit different, but no one knows the wiser save the two men who "rescued" each of them. Living in separate parts of the city, neither is aware that another mystical being is around until their paths happen to cross one evening.
Living now in 2015, how is reading a book set in 1899 able to allow readers to relate to the characters and the setting? From the author herself.
"Over and over, my research told me that the concerns and dilemmas of 1900s-era New Yorkers would be very familiar to the modern reader. They worried about multiculturalism and globalism, the tensions between science and religion, between tradition and assimilation. It became clear to me that we have always been finding and losing our faiths; we have always struggled to defend or flaunt propriety, to follow or ignore the dictates of our hearts. And apparently folklore and fantasy can still capture the modern reader—at least, if the continuing proliferation of vampires, werewolves, and the like is any indication. They’re our own all-too human urges and struggles, embodied and made explicit."
Read aloud by George Guidall, the Golem and the Jinni is certainly an audiobook that goes on my list as the TOP audiobook that I have listened to thus far. His voice, insight, inflection is AMAZING and really brought all the characters to life. Click HERE to take a listen.
Are you a fan of audiobooks? Which is the best one you've read?