Author: Nicole Krauss
Release Date: January, 2005
Publisher: W.W Norton & Company
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from May 17 to June 8, 2013
My rating: +
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother’s loneliness. Believing that 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 who, 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.
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
Prior to reading this book, Nicole Krauss was just another writer whose works I'd heard of in passing and wanted to read. What made me give her special attention was the fact that she is married to my personal hero, my literary god, the extraordinary, the one and only Jonathan Safran Foer whom I adore and idolize. Of course, I was aware of the many reviews stating how much Krauss's writing resembles that of Foer's. And since I love him so much, I couldn't help but want to give her a try. And I can't believe I waited this long to find another favorite book.
When I dove in, I realized almost instantly that those reviews were right; Krauss's writing in The History of Love reminded me of her husband a lot. But the ways in which I fell in love with both differ. With Foer, I fell hard and all at once. I fell long and deep and couldn't get back up even if I tried. He struck a chord within me, one that's very special and intimate--one that, once struck, sets free all the pent-up emotions and tells me never to let go of the person who does it. Actually, I'm still falling. But with Krauss, the process was slow and almost static, unsure--the way you learn to love again. And that's how it was; I didn't so much fall in love with The History of Love as I learned to love it. (In fact, I believe this is always going to be the way it is. Once you've found your one true love, you cannot really fall in love that same way again, but the best thing you can do is to learn to love someone.)
I am at a loss for words to say about this book. I loved it. The History of Love tells you about how a seemingly insignificant man waiting for death can make great impacts in many lives. How people struggle to fill in the gaps left by the losses of someone in their lives. How people cope with loss and loneliness. How some run away from the truth, and how others would do anything to uncover it. How love isn't really about choice, and how it can go on and you can't do anything about it. How people live. What life is. The characters are very well fleshed out and I could feel them and their earth-shattering impacts through every word. The writing is beautiful and moving. As soon as I finished this book, I--overwhelmed and bursting with emotions--wanted to read it again. Leopold Gursky lives a life larger than the space of the pages, and will live long in my memories even after the last page ends.
Sometimes I thought about nothing and sometimes I thought about my life. At least I made a living. What kind of living? A living. I lived. It wasn't easy. And yet. I found out how little is unbearable.
This review is also posted on Goodreads.