BookDragon Books for the Multi-Culti Reader

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

 

History of LoveHere’s how I finally came to read The History of Love …

A few years ago, I saw a play, The Four of Us by Itamar Moses, about (apparently, supposedly) a struggling playwright’s youthful (competitive) relationship with his best friend, an aspiring novelist. The play grabbed as much attention for what was on the stage, as what was not: the playwright was ostensibly Moses while the novelist was based on the bestselling wunderkind author Jonathan Safran Foer. With me so far?

As local lore goes (as told by his former teacher), Foer’s debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, originated from an elementary school ancestor project (both of my kids have done the same project at the same school). Because of the misplaced guilt over my inability to finish either of Foer’s first two novels (someday, I will!), I thought I might instead try the titles of his wife, Nicole Krauss. And wouldn’t you know … girl power all the way. History is, in a word, fabulous.

Knowing nothing of History, except Krauss’ marital status, was certainly a blessing. What I can tell you is to read (or listen, as I did, to a mesmerizing cast of narrators) and pay extreme attention to the tiniest details. Be patient, too … and you most certainly will be amply rewarded.

Need a few hints to get you going? Decades ago in his native Poland, before the Holocaust decimated his youthful hopes and dreams, Leo Gursky fell in love madly and permanently. He wrote of that lifelong, immutable devotion in The History of Love. Now a retired locksmith living in a tiny apartment in New York City, he’s writing again … and yet …

Living elsewhere in the same city is precocious teenager Alma Singer: “When I was born my mother named me after every girl in a book my father gave her called The History of Love.” On the cover of that besotted copy, is an author’s name that is not Leopold Gursky’s …

When Alma’s father died of cancer when she was 7, her mother “sacrificed the world.” Alma desperately wants to help her mother be happy again – the answer, Alma is convinced, somehow has to do with her elusive namesake …

Krauss proves to be a marvelous mastermind as tragedies haunt, secrets unravel, pages resurface, discoveries enlighten, lives dovetail … and books are reclaimed, reassembled, and rewritten. For now, you don’t need to know anything more … just go already … History awaits …

Readers: Adult

Published: 2005

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