Perplexed, and Meta-Perplexed

A Guide for the PerplexedA Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reading Dara Horn’s “A Guide for the Perplexed” has left me sufficiently perplexed. I’m glad I read the book but I’m also glad I didn’t have to read this in school and satisfy the teacher somehow that I knew what the “theme” of the book was. On one hand, novels (like this one) that use interwoven stories across centuries as a device always interest me, because I’m always interested in connections, and parallels. But I had believed, based on the book’s description, that technology would play a greater role in the story. Instead, technology was more than counterbalanced by a focus on people, their relationships, why they love and why they hate and why they envy and why sometimes the universe just doesn’t make sense to them. How is it that good fortune comes to some but not others? I can say I certainly didn’t anticipate the twist of fortunes that bring the novel to a close.

Philosophy plays a key role in this book, underlying all the interrelated timelines of events. And because I had a hard time grasping more than a surface-level understanding of the philosophy, I can’t help but wonder what I might have missed that was important. And did I miss what I did because of my own ignorance, or because the author didn’t make things sufficiently clear? If I’m left perplexed, whose fault is that?

Perhaps a Cliff Notes booklet analyzing this book could be a guide for the perplexed who have read “A Guide for the Perplexed.”

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Posted October 9, 2014 by markelacy in book review

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