A Guide for the Perplexed

Dara Horn (Author)


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.

Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
April 07, 2014
5.52 X 0.88 X 8.36 inches | 0.63 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Dara Horn was named one of Granta's "Best of Young American Novelists" and has won numerous literary awards.


Readers will be taken in by this literary thriller's fast-paced plot and complicated but well-imaged characters. A sure bet.
A Guide for the Perplexed is a richly layered book that leaves a reader...grateful and impressed.
Horn moves seamlessly back and forth in time.
A work marked by brilliant conceits and clever plotting.
Horn is embracing her own, livelier brand of Jewish history, embodied in the joys of discovering-and creating-the past anew.
Wondrous...a richly layered novel.... Horn has magically summoned the wisdom of the ages to address a most contemporary dilemma...riveting and suspenseful.... A novelist at the height of her powers.--Andrew Ferman