Tag Archives: philosophy

Book Diva Review: A Guide for the Perplexed

a guide for the perplexed a novel 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.

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The Zahir, by Paul Coelho

The Zahir, by Paul Coelho…I give it Four Stars!

Paul Coehlo has managed to capture the emotions of a man in search of his missing wife, but, in the end, realizes that he was searching for his own Self.

“Zahir, in Arabic, means visible, present, incapable of going unnoticed…someone or something, which once we come in contact with, gradually occupies our every thought until we can think of nothing else, considered a state of holiness or madness.”

The narrator is obsessed with finding his wife, and wonders if she ran off on her own, was she kidnapped, has she been murdered, etc. He is also obsessed with his own independence and freedom, and will do almost anything to be free, including having affairs, and going out of his way to make sure that what he considers his independence is not hindered in any way.

The narrator meets the man, named Mikhail, who his wife disappeared with. Being a man of privilege and celebrity, and a man used to getting and having his way, the narrator wants Mikhail to lead him to his wife, immediately. This does not happen, and in a series of meetings, and talks, we see the narrator begin to realize the substance of life, the emotional and spiritual substance of who we are, of who and of what he is comprised of.

The narrator, obsessively, yet slowly, finds his way towards his wife, and in an almost parallel way, finds his own sense of independence. He is both a man who journeys through madness and obsessiveness, towards love and spirituality.

Bravo to Coelho for always searching and questioning.

~~~Book Diva

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