Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Freebie: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and Three Souls by Janie Chang

Congratulations to Tisa Houck, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Road to Reckoning by Robert Lautner.

This week's book giveaway is a special duo of magic and fable.  One lucky reader will win a copy of both The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and Three Souls by Janie Chang.  Both books are trade paperbacks.

In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.  Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland.  Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.  Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.  Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection.  Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.  Booklist sez: "What happens when a golem, a Polish woman made of clay, recently marooned in late-nineteenth-century New York, joins forces with jinni, a creature made of fire, accidentally released by a Syrian tinsmith in lower Manhattan?  The premise is so fresh that it is anyone’s guess, and Wecker does not disappoint as she keeps the surprises coming in this unusual story of the intersection of two magical beings and their joint impact on their parochial immigrant communities....A mystical and highly original stroll through the sidewalks of New York."

We have three souls, or so I'd been told. But only in death could I confirm this.... So begins Janie Chang's haunting and captivating tale, set in 1935 China, of the ghost of a young woman named Leiyin, who watches her own funeral from above and wonders why she is being denied entry to the afterlife.  Beside her are three souls—stern and scholarly yang; impulsive, romantic yin; and wise, shining hun—who will guide her toward understanding.  She must, they tell her, make amends.  As Leiyin delves back in time with the three souls to review her life, she sees the spoiled and privileged teenager she once was, a girl who is concerned with her own desires while China is fractured by civil war and social upheaval.  At a party, she meets Hanchin, a captivating left-wing poet and translator, and instantly falls in love with him.  When Leiyin defies her father to pursue Hanchin, she learns the harsh truth—that she is powerless over her fate.  Her punishment for disobedience leads to exile, an unwanted marriage, a pregnancy, and, ultimately, her death.  And when she discovers what she must do to be released from limbo into the afterlife, Leiyin realizes that the time for making amends is shorter than she thought.  Suffused with history and literature, Three Souls is an epic tale of revenge and betrayal, forbidden love, and the price we are willing to pay for freedom.

If you’d like a chance at winning copies of both The Golem and the Jinni and Three Souls, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Feb. 27, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on Feb. 28.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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