The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

Cover ImageFinished 9-28-10, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 2005

The floorboards creaked under my weight.  There were books everywhere.  There were pens, and a blue glass vase, an ashtray from the Dolder Grand in Zurich, the rusted arrow of a weather vane, a little brass hourglass, sand dollars on the windowsill, a pair of binoculars, an empty wine bottle that served as a candle holder, wax melted down the neck.  I touched this thing and that.  At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions, Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away.  Perhaps that’s why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.

“Die Laughing” chapter

Leo Gursky, a man who escaped the Nazis in Poland before following the love of his life to New York City, is staring a lonely death in the face.  He has one friend, he makes a scene when in public so that people will remember him, and he is willing to embarrass himself just to be seen.  He is alone, the love of his life is dead and his son doesn’t know he exists.  Leo is full of wit and wisdom and sadness.  I just wanted to give him a hug.

Alma Singer is a girl who wants to know who her namesake is.  Her dead father had given her mother a book, The History of Love, and the woman in it, Alma, represented all women.  Young Alma’s search for the author provides the catalyst and the mystery for this original novel. 

The language is beautiful and the story bittersweet.  It is both funny and confusing, touching and depressing.  It came close to being perfect for me and I loved it.  It is very difficult to describe, but pick it up and take a look.  It may be just the unique voice you are looking for.

This is from my personal library and chosen by Vasilly, Heather, Mille, Alita, and Wendy.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Best book ever. Really. Please, please tell me this came from your Holiday Book Blogger Santa? I might cry otherwise.”  Mille (my very sweet Secret Santa :))

“You want to dig deeper into the book as you read.”  Vasilly