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A flamboyantly fantastical literary voyage in which two strangers stranded at a Spanish airport during a strike are brought together by their mutual travel agent, whose Guide for the Perplexed travel book they both have.
Executed with intellectual and sensual exuberance, this ingeniously original novel defies definition at every turn as the two marooned women share their remarkable stories. Holland is a British filmmaker and in Spain to interview a reclusive violinist, while Miami widow Hanni is set on finding a letter that will confirm her ancestral connection to Esau, purportedly the real discoverer of the New World. The language dances and sparkles as the narrative traverses time, religions and momentous historical events, and the serpentine structure of stories within stories is a flabbergasting imaginative feat. Truly a Pandora’s box of cerebral delights in the vein of Eco and Calvino, it dazzles, and demands one’s absolute attention. ~ Joanne Owen
A Guide for the Perplexed combines the romantic erudition of Umberto Eco and A.S. Byatt with the ingenious storytelling of Scheherazade and A Thousand and One Nights; a tour de force that should not be missed. A late-night strike closes down an airport leaving two women stranded on their respective journeys in the bewitched Spanish town of Mariposa. Holland, an English filmmaker, has come to interview Sandor, the famous but reclusive violinist. Hanni, a Miami widow, is on a quest to recover a lost letter that confirms her link to her ancestor Esau, who was allegedly the true discoverer of America. Each woman has had her trip arranged by Ben, a cosmological travel agent and each has a copy of his tourist guide, entitled Guide for the Perplexed. As the women share cabs, surreal adventures and their fantastic personal histories, Levi's mesmerizing tale spirals back in time, embracing stories about Jews, the Inquisition and Columbus's first voyage. Fairy tale-like narratives within the main narrative dramatize issues of religion, compromise and survival, ultimately evolving into a dazzling improvisation on the theme of journeys and exile.
Closing date: 25/11/2018
'A first novel of monumental ambition and striving imagination'
New York Times
'Levi's audacious debut rings changes on a variety of intellectual themes while chronicling the friendship of two women, both visitors in Spain, who discover their common bonds'
'Writes with a Saul Bellow-like braininess and brashness while also bearing the mark of such fabulists as Gunter Grass and Gabriel Garcia Marquez... vigorous, vivid, and grounded in the pleasures of the senses'
Publication date: 04/05/2017
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
|Publication date:||4th May 2017|
|Publisher:||Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Relationship Stories, Thriller / Suspense,|
|Categories:||Historical fiction, Fantasy, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Jonathan Levi is an American writer and producer, and author of Septimania. His short stories and articles have also appeared in many magazines including Granta, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Terra Nova, The Nation and The New York Times. Born in New York, he currently lives in Rome. Author photo © Jeanette BarronMore About Jonathan Levi