Title: The History of Love
Author: Nicole Krauss
Published: 2005; Pages: 252
An aging recluse rethinking his life, a young girl easing her mother’s heartache, and a forgotten author whose book brings them all together. The History of Love is a poignant story of discovery, love, redemption, and the threads that bind us together. [ya, I don’t know why I bother telling you anything at all]
Why I Read It: The History of Love is one of those books that I saw a million trillion places on the blogosphere. Of course I never really knew what it was about and since I often found it in the clearance section of Half Price Books I didn’t think much about it (you know those books that frequent the clearance section…). But then my friend Laura read it and told me I needed to read it. And then I read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and you all told me I needed to read this one. So, I went to Half Price Books and paid non-clearance price (why does that always happen?).
Some [Uncoherent] Thoughts: Can I just bullet point this post? Oh wait, my blog…
- Three separate narrations/storylines which made the beginning of the book a little confusing. It took me about a 100 pages before I was able to start piecing things together and since I was only reading 10 pages at a time I did have to go back and reread some bits. This was a big source of frustration but I’m blaming it on the 10 pages at a time, not the book (though others mentioned the same).
- The History of Love is quite complicated with all of the intricate puzzle pieces but once things finally came together…*sigh*
- Leo Gursky (see aging recluse above) is so sad and tragic it just hurts my heart
- And Alma? I love her tenacity and cleverness and desire to cure her mother and help her brother Bird
- Krauss’s writing is beautiful and each of the narrations are distinct in tone and voice. She perfectly portrays Gursky and Alma and the third “matter of fact” narration. I felt I really knew the characters and sympathized with the various emotions they were experiencing.
- This book is very reminiscent of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. The authors are married and it makes me wonder how much they influenced each other in the writing of these books. I’ve heard that they can be somewhat companion books, which I’m not sure I agree with, but they did feel eerily similar.
- Any book that can make me cry automatically goes into the “favorites” pile. I was nearing the end of the book and Elle was upset and wouldn’t go down for a nap. I decided to read the end of the book out loud to her. In many ways this was a wretched mistake because hearing the truths spoken aloud seriously broke my heart. I cried and cried. And while Elle finally slept I finished reading the remainder of the book (out loud) while still crying. And then I closed the book and just cried some more.
- I was tempted to start the book over again from the beginning, but I’m leaving it for another day down the road. Instead I just hugged the book. A lot.
Bottom Line: Care says it best in her pre-review, so I urge you to go read her gushings. But bottom line is this is a beautiful and moving book that I think you should all go read right now. Well, if you haven’t read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, read that first, then read this, and then we’ll all meet for coffee and collectively gush over both books. Just like with EL&IC, this isn’t a book for everyone–it can be a bit confusing and even at times plodding–but in the end I found it to be well worth the small amount of frustration I experienced.
So tell me, where do I go from here?