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A Guide for the Perplexed: Book summary and reviews of A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn

A Guide for the Perplexed

by Dara Horn

A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn X
A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
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  • Published Sep 2013
    352 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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Book Summary

Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented an application that records everything its users do. When an Egyptian library invites her to visit as a consultant, her jealous sister Judith persuades her to go. But in Egypt's postrevolutionary chaos, Josie is abducted - leaving Judith free to take over Josie's life at home, including her husband and daughter, while Josie's talent for preserving memories becomes a surprising test of her empathy and her only means of escape.

A century earlier, another traveler arrives in Egypt: Solomon Schechter, a Cambridge professor hunting for a medieval archive hidden in a Cairo synagogue. Both he and Josie are haunted by the work of the medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides, a doctor and rationalist who sought to reconcile faith and science, destiny and free will. But what Schechter finds, as he tracks down the remnants of a thousand-year-old community's once-vibrant life, will reveal the power and perils of what Josie's ingenious work brings into being: a world where nothing is ever forgotten.

An engrossing adventure that intertwines stories from Genesis, medieval philosophy, and the digital frontier, A Guide for the Perplexed is a novel of profound inner meaning and astonishing imagination.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Readers will be taken in by this literary thriller's fast-paced plot and complicated but well-imaged characters." - Library Journal

"If this sounds melodramatic, that's because it is. Worse yet, there is something profoundly unlikable about all the characters involved. Still, Horn raises intriguing questions - including some of the eternal variety and others very much of this moment." - Publishers Weekly

"Horn (All Other Nights, 2009, etc.) is nothing if not ambitious in concocting this stew of Middle East politics, computer sci-fi, Jewish philosophy and romantic melodrama about a Jewish techno-entrepreneur taken hostage in post-Mubarak Egypt...The psychological plot concerning the characters is less captivating, although Judith is a standout. A work marked by brilliant conceits and clever plotting." - Kirkus

"A Guide for the Perplexed is Dara Horn's most ambitious, audacious, edifying, and entertaining novel yet." - Elif Batuman

This information about A Guide for the Perplexed was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Dara Horn Author Biography

Michael B. Priest

Dara Horn is the award-winning author of six books, including the novels In the Image (Norton 2002), The World to Come (Norton 2006), All Other Nights (Norton 2009), A Guide for the Perplexed (Norton 2013), and Eternal Life (Norton 2018), and the essay collection People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present (Norton 2021). One of Granta magazine's Best Young American Novelists (2007), she is the recipient of two National Jewish Book Awards, the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, the Harold U. Ribalow Award, and the Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, and she was a finalist for the Wingate Prize, the Simpson Family Literary Prize, and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Her books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books, Booklist's 25 Best Books of the Decade, and San ...

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