History of Love

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
History of Love
Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But it wasn't always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book. . . . Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of "extraordinary depth and beauty" (Newsday).

Publisher: W. W. Norton, 2006
ISBN: 0393328627


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May 31, 2014

I read this book in one day in one sitting. Now days later I am still reading it in my heart .

Jun 17, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In this novel, an obscure, stolen translation of a Spanish book called
The History of Love connects two New Yorkers. Leo is an elderly immigrant who fled WWII Poland, settled in New York City, and pines for his lost love and his son. Alma is a teenage girl caring for her widowed mother and her brother. Alma convinces herself that the key to her mother’s happiness is locked within the pages of The History of Love.

May 28, 2013
  • brianreynolds rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

My second reading of Nicole Krauss' The History of Love was just as visceral as it was the first go-round, just as rewarding as well. To really do its job, a tale of loss depends on likeable losers. Krauss' collection of unrelated characters are all ones for whom a reader can feel sympathy. The aging Leo Gursky suffers not only the loss of the love of his life and the contact of his only son, but the theft of a book, which for him represents the very quiet but fundamental wish to avoid total invisibility. Beyond the compassion generated by the untimely loss of their husband/ father, the Singer survivors all show enviable courage and intelligence. Even the plagiarist, Litvinoff (like Gursky, a Holocaust survivor) commits his crime in quest of love, in part from ignorance and in part from desperation. Krauss builds suspense by letting her four POV characters each hold keys to the solution without any interest in a common goal—a situation that continually teases the reader with the unlikely possibility they will be able to help solve each other's problems. They are ships that not only pass each other in the dark, but that are in constant danger of running aground. Regardless of who Krauss might be married to or if there are similarities to other works of fiction or if the lack of an omniscient character to walk the reader through the plot requires some effort, this is a powerful story of survival that tiptoes between tragedy (isolation) and comedy (union) so deftly, so gracefully I will resist the temptation to spoil the outcome.

Jan 14, 2013
  • GLNovak rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book is a bit confusing. As you follow the stories of Leo, Alma, and Bird you are given glimpses into the life of Leo's book 'The History of Love'. I found myself confused at times and having to think about the clues the novelist had let slip to figure out just what I was learning. Alma is very persistant in her search for her namesake, the heroine of the book, and her connection to the real author is like a butterfly touching down and then fluttering up and away again. I did enjoy the search with her and the glimpses of the minds of all three of them. A very intriguing, beguiling book. I was reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at the same time but had to stop because I was getting confused as the two story lines are so similar. I didn't realize the authors are husband and wife. They must have discussed their works in progress and cross-fertilized ideas.

Oct 22, 2012

It was sad but good

Jul 19, 2012
  • csjary rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of my all time faves! Heartbreaking, lyrical and sweet all at the same time.

May 01, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

Quite convoluted. Often funny.

Jan 29, 2012
  • Safariluv03 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I agree with the reviews that this book was hard to follow. I think the author could have made it more clear as to who it was that was talking. I spent a lot of my time confused and re-reading past chapters. The underlining story was sweet though. I wouldn't re-read this book but I don't feel like I wasted my time having read it.

Sep 28, 2011
  • adoranti rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

We read this book for our book club. Most of the group enjoyed the story. It was both funny and touching and had an interesting twist toward the end. It is a bit confusing since there are three tales woven into the book.

Aug 08, 2011
  • amandalome rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Leo, Alma, Bird - some of the greatest characters I have ever encountered in fiction. I truly was captivated after reading just the first page. Krauss's prose is lovely and there is so much pure goodness in this book. Highly recommended!

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