Sunday, December 22, 2013

Title: A Guide for the Perplexed
Author: Dara Horn
Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Oh, my poor neglected blog, how I have missed you! The lack of updates for the past few months has been due to college taking over my life. I had to devote any spare minute/hour I had to keeping up with my three classes. Thankfully, all my hard work paid off- I received an A in all three classes! Now I get a mini-break until the spring semester starts up again on January 6th. Enough about me, now some good stuff....

A Guide for the Perplexed is a mixture of regular fiction and historical fiction due to three interweaving stories (the reader learns how all three timelines and plots are connected at the end of the novel). Josie Ashkenazi, a genius and the envy of her sister, Judith,  lives in present-day Massachusetts and has designed the Genizah: a software program that records your daily life and categorizes every important or mundane moment for your convenient retrieval later. (And you thought Facebook was intrusive...) Josie's inspiration for the Genizah program came after a near-fatal asthma attack in the woods and from the real-life genizahs (archives) that are located in every Jewish synagogue.
Judith urges Josie to travel to Egypt to sell the Genizah program to the Alexandria library. Near the end of her trip, Josie is kidnapped and made to create a genizah for her captor who recently lost his teenage son to police brutality. While Josie is being held prisoner, Judith is taking over Josie's life back in the States and moves in with Josie's husband and daughter. Towards the end of the novel,  Judith finally decides to do the right thing and atone for her past actions and hatred against Josie.
I can't give any more of the plot away but this was a nice, intelligent, yet escapist book to read after a very stressful semester.