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A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
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A Guide for the Perplexed

A Novel

$20.99 USD

Retail price (USD): $22.95

Discount: 9%

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Length 10 hours 34 minutes
Language English
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A thrilling new novel exploring how memory shapes the soul, by "an astonishing storyteller" (Financial Times)

Software prodigy Josie Ashkenazi has invented a program 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 kidnapped—leaving Judith free to usurp her sister's life, including her husband and daughter, while Josie's talent for preserving memories becomes her only hope of escape.

A century earlier, Solomon Schechter, a Cambridge professor, hunts for a medieval archive hidden in a Cairo synagogue. What he finds will reveal the power and danger of the world Josie's work brings into being—a world where nothing is ever forgotten.

Interweaving stories from Genesis, medieval philosophy, and the digital frontier, A Guide for the Perplexed is a spellbinding tale sure to bring a vast new readership to the acclaimed work of Dara Horn.

Dara Horn earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University in 2006. In 2007, she was chosen by Granta magazine as one of the Best Young American Novelists. Her first novel, In the Image, received a National Jewish Book Award, an Edward Lewis Wallant Award, and a Reform Judaism Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The World to Come, received the 2006 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and was selected as an Editor's Choice by the New York Times Book Review and as one of the Best Books of 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle. She has taught courses in Jewish literature and Israeli history at Harvard and at Sarah Lawrence College, and she has lectured at universities and cultural institutions throughout the United States and Canada. Dara lives with her husband, daughter, and son in New Jersey.

Carrington MacDuffie is a recording artist and spoken-word performer whose voice acting has been featured in several independent films. Following a lengthy run with a New York vaudeville revue, she spent many years singing, writing, and producing multimedia performances with her seven-piece pop band. Her one-woman spoken-word show, On the Dreaming Earth, has been staged at various venues in Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. MacDuffie has received several of AudioFile’s Earphones awards, and KLIATT says, “MacDuffie’s reading is amazing.”

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Reviews

“It’s not every day you come across a genuinely page-turning kidnapping story that is also replete with historical, psychological, and interpretive insights into Maimonides, envy, and motherhood, not to mention replicating the narrative structure and central themes of the biblical story of Joseph. A Guide for the Perplexed is Dara Horn’s most ambitious, audacious, edifying, and entertaining novel yet.”

“Horn builds on the idea of the cabinet of memories throughout the book, questioning which we want to remember and which we would rather forget, as well as the relevance of our memories to our present lives and how they can hold us back…I admired Horn’s intensity and integrity, much as I admired the same qualities in her characters.”

“Another richly textured blend of history, psychology, religion, and human emotion…Yes, the novel is as intricately constructed as Joseph’s coat of many colors, and, yes, it echoes the thematic density of the philosophical work after which it is named, but beneath all that beats the living heart of a very human drama, one that will have readers both caught up in the suspense and moved by the tragic dimensions of the unresolved dilemma at the core of the story.”

“Horn raises intriguing questions—including some of the eternal variety and others very much of this moment.”

“What do computerized data storage, sibling rivalry, the Book of Ruth, and Egyptian uncertainty after the Arab Spring have in common? They’re all part of this latest work about two crucial aspects of being human: the ability to remember and to love. Horn has already proven herself by being named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and winning two National Jewish Book Awards. A sure bet.”

“A debut novel from the American cofounder of Granta that, appropriating its title from the work by the great Talmudic scholar Maimonides, provides an ingenious if metaphorical twist to the events of 1492.” 

“Intricate and suspenseful, A Guide for the Perplexed is both learned and heartfelt, an exploration of human memory, its uses and misuses, that spans centuries in a twisty braid full of jaw-dropping revelations and breathtaking reversals. An elegant and brainy page-turner from a master storyteller.”

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