Saturday, December 09, 2006

The History of Love

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Last night I finished reading this book, which has received much critical acclaim.

Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother's lonliness. Believing she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man named Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days dreaming of the lost love that sixty years ago in Poland inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn't know it yet, that book also survived: crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives...

Krauss' characters are vivid and real (though Alma's brother Bird does seem unnecessary quirky). Having the story told from different perspectives can be a bit jarring, but it is very effective. We start the novel wondering at the connection between Alma and Leo and then slowly watch the story beautifully unravel to a very satisfying ending.


  1. My book club is contemplating reading this. What do you think?

  2. I think it's worth a try. While the book is swimming in positive response from the critics, it does seem to have mixed reviews on Amazon. So I think it’ll probably make for a really good discussion.
    Also, Judaism is an underlying theme in the book. Most of the older characters escaped from Eastern Europe during WWII. Bird’s “quirkiness” (which I mentioned in my post) has everything to do with religious fervor.

  3. Ooh, that Jewish thing will make it an easier sell to my group since we try to focus on Jewish lit. That means this qualifies under our loose definition of what Jewish Lit is. Thanks!!

  4. That's why I mentioned it ;)

    But after I posted I realized that I should have said 'Jewishness' rather than 'Judaism' b/c it really is Jewish identity that is an undercurrent in the book (the religious stuff is really restricted to Bird's character).