Book Review Guidereview
It' s proof of the liveliness of Horn's writings that the book is never entangled in issues of what has already been and not. Genizah described above uses various types of electronic equipment to keep an eye on and catalogue everything about a person's world. It is usually not relevant whether the information is really groundbreaking; the interesting point is how we deal with the flood of information that permeates our world.
And, yes, because the Egypt Revolutions had already taken place in the book and the recent revolutions had not, I was worried that the loophole might turn out to be disturbing in real life. "the Perplexed Guide for the Perplexed" has three intersecting stories. First is a recounting of the Bible tale of Joseph and his brethren from the life of today's Josie and Judith Ashkenazi.
The genizah's genius is born of a brilliance and beauty; Judith is outclassed in every respect. Judith is smart and rigorous enough to convince Josie to go to Egypt for three months as an advisor to the Alexandria Library just to get Josie out of the way. As Josie is abducted and subjected to torture in Cairo's City of the Dead, Judith is confronted with her debts and the life of Josie's man and his little Daughn.
It was this instant in the mine two centuries later that inspired Josie's Genizah-programme. Based on the concept of the memorial cabinets throughout the book, Horner questions what we want to recall and what we would rather forgotten, as well as the significance of our memoirs for our current life and how they can retain us.
Geniza also introduces the other two narratives in the book, both of which are based on real-life inspiration: Moses Maimonides, a twelve teenth-century scholar and doctor whose "Guide for the Perplexed" examines the relation between belief and rationality, and Solomon Schechter, a 19th-century Cambridge lecturer who achieved scholarly renown in Cairo in 1896 with his discoveries of the world's best-known geniza, a synaogue for texts that cannot be discarded for religion.
Horn-teached Judaic literary and historical works, and her writings come from a place of profound research and understanding - but it sometimes draws a little too much on his work. On a 13-page sequence, Schechter and a Cairoer Rabbins joke in ecclesiastical verse and aphorism, realistic and forged, to bargain Schechter's acceptance into the Geniza, and the book begins to draw.
It is a novel of thoughts and information - perhaps too many thoughts, perhaps too much information - and I could not avoid the impression that I was learning rather than just telling stories. As these men sat in an auditorium and stared out of a windows, I often felt as if I was dreaming of Josie being abducted in Cairo struggling for her being.
In the room where Josie is taken to ransom, there is a copy of the real "Guide for the Perplexed", and Josie soon confront Maimonides with her own philosophy. But I just yearned not to be trained for a second not to use the information in my own way.