Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Elderly Leo Gursky lost his great love when he was young and he has spent the rest of his life living with what-might-have-beens and watching her and her family from afar. Not in any kind of icky way but in a caring way. Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is named after all the women in a book entitled The History of Love. The book leads her on a quest that takes on more and more layers, as she first searches for happiness for her widowed mother and then she gets more curious about the people she finds.
I missed something here. I know so many people love this book, and I kept waiting to love it too, and then I got to the end. And now I'm sitting here watching my cursor blink back at me and I really don't even know what to say.
I do have to say that I admire the narrators' voices. They were all very distinct, from the twelve-year-old Jewish boy to his fourteen-year-old sister, to old Leo to the disembodied narrator, I knew who was telling each section with no problem. I have to admire the author's artistry in pulling that off.
But everyone was just so sad and so alone. It got a little depressing. Even the twelve-year-old felt sad and alienated. He was faced with the choice of being true to his own nature and alone or burying a part of himself and fitting in and having friends.
I guess my problem might be that I tend to like my stories to be a little more linear. I can take some detours as long as I get to see how they're going to tie in pretty quickly. But when there are several distinct plots roaming around a book and I don't understand how they fit together until right at the end, I've pretty much given up and don't care anymore. And I think that's what happened to me here.
The book is beautifully written, so if that is a bigger draw for you than that linear plot I was talking about, I think you will like, or even love, this one.
Read an excerpt.
Find author Nicole Krauss on her website.
I read this for Bookish Ardor's Off the Shelf Challenge.
Buy The History of Love on
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