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About Helene Wecker
Helene Wecker’s first novel, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel, and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize, and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. A sequel, THE HIDDEN PALACE: A TALE OF THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, will be published in June 2021. A Midwest native, she holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in literary journals such as Joyland and Catamaran, as well as the fantasy anthology The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and children.
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Books By Helene Wecker
"Richly nuanced and beautiful. . . . An immersive and magical tale of loneliness, love, and finding hope.” (Buzzfeed)
“A layered novel of many complex characters…To keep their worlds safe, Chava and Ahmad must access both their greatest supernatural powers and their deepest human impulses.” (Historical Novels Review)
In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I— the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni—Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world.
Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, who can hear the thoughts and longings of those around her and feels compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a restless creature of fire, once free to roam the desert but now imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other.
Both Chava and Ahmad have changed the lives of the people around them. Park Avenue heiress Sophia Winston, whose brief encounter with Ahmad left her with a strange illness that makes her shiver with cold, travels to the Middle East to seek a cure. There she meets Dima, a tempestuous female jinni who’s been banished from her tribe. Back in New York, in a tenement on the Lower East Side, a little girl named Kreindel helps her rabbi father build a golem they name Yossele—not knowing that she’s about to be sent to an orphanage uptown, where the hulking Yossele will become her only friend and protector.
Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart—especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves?
“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.
Lorsqu'elle se réveille en cette fin du XIXe siècle, Chava est enfermée dans une malle au fond d'un navire qui les emmène, elle et son nouveau mari, vers New York, loin de la Pologne. Faite d'argile, c'est une golème, créée par un rabbin qui s'est détourné de Dieu pour se consacrer à l'occultisme.
Lorsqu'il se réveille, le djinn est violemment projeté sur le sol de l'atelier d'Arbeely, un artisan syrien. L'instant d'avant, c'est-àdire mille ans plus tôt, cet être de feu aux pouvoirs exceptionnels errait dans le désert.
La golème et le djinn, fantastiques immigrés, se rencontrent au hasard d'une rue. Eux seuls se voient tels qu'ils sont réellement. Chacun sait que l'autre n'est pas humain. Tous deux incapables de dormir, ils se donnent rendez-vous une fois par semaine, la nuit, pour arpenter les rues de Manhattan, qu'ils découvrent avec émerveillement.
Mais une menace plane sur eux. Le créateur de la golème, d'un âge très avancé, est prêt à tout pour échapper à la mort. Et il a vu où se cachait le secret de la vie éternelle : à New York.
Un conte initiatique, une fresque historique, un récit choral et une merveilleuse histoire d'amour pour un premier roman éblouissant.