A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
A Novel

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When a video appears online of Josie being hanged, Judith moves in with her sister’s family...Worse yet, there is something profoundly unlikable about all the characters involved.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

The incomparable Dara Horn returns with a spellbinding novel of how technology changes memory and how memory shapes the soul.


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.

 

About Dara Horn

See more books from this Author
Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, is one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists" and the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
 
Published September 9, 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company. 353 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Guide for the Perplexed
All: 4 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Jul 19 2013

What is memory, and can it be trusted? What is the relationship between past and present? What is time dilation?...A work marked by brilliant conceits and clever plotting.

Read Full Review of A Guide for the Perplexed: A ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Jami Attenberg on Sep 27 2013

Horn is rigorously, impressively devoted to theme, and all of her novel’s threads are in service of it. No detail is out of place.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on Jun 17 2013

When a video appears online of Josie being hanged, Judith moves in with her sister’s family...Worse yet, there is something profoundly unlikable about all the characters involved.

Read Full Review of A Guide for the Perplexed: A ... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Karl Wolff on Sep 09 2013

A Guide for the Perplexed succeeds at being both a nerve-wracking international thriller and a group portrait of individuals dealing with circumstances beyond their control.

Read Full Review of A Guide for the Perplexed: A ... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Reader Rating for A Guide for the Perplexed
79%

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