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

25 thoughts on “The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

  1. Thoughts of Joy says:

    Hmm I think this is one of those books where I have to be in the right frame of mind to pick it up; however, your thoughts make it a little more appealing. When my mood sways in its direction, it’ll be waiting for me on my TBR shelves. 🙂

  2. rhapsodyinbooks says:

    This book kills me, because I read it, and then TOTALLY forgot it! And now I’ve got that inhibition of well, I already read that, I need to read ones I haven’t read yet – even though I can’t remember a single thing! I should just pretend I never read it….

  3. Swan says:

    Just discovering your blog and I’m so happy to see this book reviewed on the second post I read from you. This book is awesome, the way Nicole Kraus writes is so creative, each character so original and touching… I read it in French (cause I’m French, that’s why this comment is probably full of grammar mistakes) but now I want to reread it in English. So glad you liked it too.

  4. Staci says:

    This one was a winner for me too and I actually felt quite the way you did that it was a bit confusing but it didn’t matter because there was that something special going on. Great review of this one.

  5. Amy says:

    This is a book I want to read very badly. I haven’t purchased it yet because I want to read it when I have plenty of time to enjoy it & don’t have too many reading commitments hanging over my head. I made the mistake of saying yes to too many review books. But I have read some wonderful books as a result.
    Anyway, I digress (sorry!) your feelings about this book & those of other bloggers have piqued my interest in this book. I am excited about the characters because they sound unique, unusual and worth spending time on.

    Thank you for your review, Stacy, it’s only made me more aware of how much I want to read this book!
    ~ Amy

  6. Bumble says:

    I had heard of this one but apparently no other reviews had spurred me along into adding it to my list on Goodreads – thanks for the great excerpt and your thoughts – it is now on my list!

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