A Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel, by Dara Horn is a book that is ambitious in structure and story.
I enjoyed Ms. Horn’s previous books, and that is why I was interested in reading this one, especially her book “In the Image”.
The book fluctuates within time periods, offering the reader a scope of then and now, the philosophical and remembrance. Judaism is a significant force within the pages. Maimonides and his philosophies play a large role within the stories that encapsulate the novel.
I did not like the characters, they didn’t speak to me. I didn’t find myself interested in, or caring about them, which was a big minus for me. I read to feel something positive or illuminating about the characters, not to be disinterested in them.
The story lines (there are more than one) left me feeling a bit empty. To me, Ms. Horn took on a large challenge, and couldn’t quite fulfill it. The stories within the story did not mesh, in my opinion.
The story line reflecting the digital age and all it seemingly encompasses, seemed a bit redundant to me. There wasn’t anything enlightening or timely/updating, as far as data. I liked the philosophical aspect, especially regarding memory and destiny. Those issues were not enough to stir my interests until the end of the book.
I realize the author was trying to depict issues regarding family relationships, free will, nostalgia, an analogy to the story of Joseph, and memory and history, within the pages. To that end, she did succeed in having me ponder the differences between history and memory.
Memory is how we remember occurrences, which is not always how the happened. History, as written through the ages, is what actually occurred at a given time.
The word imagery was excellent, and I could see the visuals before me. It wasn’t enough, though, to involve me in the characters and their endeavors and lives.
Although I was disenchanted with A Guide for the Perplexed: A Novel, will I read a future book by Dara Horn? Most definitely.