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The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The History of Love (2005)

by Nicole Krauss (Author)

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Not a book to read when you are down, The History of Love explores the ups, the downs, and the challenges of growing old, with a sideshow of serendipity thrown in. I can not say enough about George Guidall. A true master of narration, Guidall brings Krauss's protagonist to life, and stands him in front of us, holding a mirror to our face so we can clearly see what the future holds for all of us... if we are lucky enough to get that far. Read it. On a good day. ( )
  steeleyjan | Apr 16, 2015 |
Wow. Not the easiest book I've ever read, but worthy. About all I can come up with are adjectives: Quiet and subtle, but passionate. Complex, poetic, but accessible. Short, but I advise you savor it... no, not 'savor' because it's not delicious, rather, it's simply beautiful. Sit down with it. Immerse yourself in it. But don't forget to breathe. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
{sigh} what to say? there was so much potential for Leo and Isaac and Alma and Zvi... and yet, the author left us with a overstretched remains of a burst balloon. I'm glad to have met Leo and Alma, but know very little about his "history" of love... Her name was Alma and we learn little about this first Alma. How does the second Alma figure in? don't know. the book was "okay". I can't think of a single person I'd recommend it to as the ending falls flat and is disappointing. I clearly have missed something!!!

Maybe I am being harsh. ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
"If you don't know what it feels like to have someone you love put a hand below your bottom rib for the first time, what chance is there for love?"

What a reading experience! I went into this book knowing absolutely nothing about its premise. All I knew was that it is highly regarded by many of my Goodreads friends. What you should know is that right after I finished reading it, I spent the rest of the day rereading and underlining passages and clues I might have overlooked. Did you find yourself doing the same thing after watching The Sixth Sense for the first time? Don't lie!

This book is a compelling, heartwarming study of loneliness, loss and adolescence. At least ten to fifteen characters are inadvertently drawn together by a book published soon after World War II called The History of Love. The mystery behind its author and publication, and the different lives it touches up to present day unfold in a series personal journal entries. Central to the novel are a group of teenagers who each survive and/or escape the Nazi occupation of Poland only to find the overwhelming loneliness and grief that awaits them when they attempt to "start over."

I guess it depends on what you're going through at the moment, but this book just made my heart hurt so much. Not enough to cry, but enough to remind me that I am human, and that we all have personal circumstances that we're struggling to overcome. Sometimes one good day in a gloomy month is so precious that we dread the setting of the sun. The more I think about it, the more questions I have. Love is such a complex thing, whether it's fufilled, reciprocated, or never comes to fruition...it can be the thing that pushes us forward and makes us get out of bed every morning. That is pretty powerful, and Krauss did a magnificent job of relaying that message. ( )
  dreamydress48 | Dec 5, 2014 |
You know, I’m always disheartened when picking up a book to find a sticker staring back at me declaring that it’s been “Shortlisted by Richard & Judy’s book club.” What is that supposed to mean? That it didn’t even make the final? It did however live up to my expectations. Bland, unoriginal and desperate to please.

There was a story here but boy she didn’t half labour to get it out. And was it worth it? Not really. I did collect a few quotes here and there, but you can join the dots in your own mind way before the writing does it for you. The characters are okay. Well, no. Wait a minute. The main character is okay. He’s a kind of sane version of Ignatius J. Reilly I suppose – which of course takes all the fun out of him. But the young girl, was absolutely two dimensional and the parts that were written from her point of view were the worst in my opinion. She just seemed like a last minute plot invention to solve the problem of a vehicle to convey how the threads of the needlessly fragmented storyline came together.

For some reason I kept thinking of The Book Thief as I read this. I think it was the fact that both dealt with Jewish culture as well as suffering from writers trying too hard. As with Thief, this was a novel trying to impress you with ‘clever’ little literary devices which I suspect may mask the ability to actually write. Take for example, the opening line below. Are we supposed to be intrigued by the use of a dependent clause bereft of its main clause mother? And towards the end, we had whole pages with just a few lines on them. Why? Okay. Why not? You’re right. It certainly helps me get to the end quicker as my progress graph below from Goodreads shows.

No idea whatsoever what this is doing on the 1001 books list. No idea at all. ( )
1 vote arukiyomi | Jun 14, 2014 |
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For my grandparents, who taught me the opposite of disappearing and for Jonathan, my life
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When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit.
A thought crossed his face in a language I didn’t understand.
It’s also true that sometimes people felt things and because there was no word for them, they went unmentioned.  The oldest emotion in the world may be that of being moved, but to describe it and just to name it – must have been like trying to catch something invisible.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Presents a narrative about an aged author who flees Nazi-occupied Poland leaving his unpublished manuscript behind and a teenage girl in New York who was named after the heroine in Leo's book which was published under a different man's name.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393328627, Paperback)

Nicole Krauss's The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss's watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book.

The History of Love spans of period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At the center of each main character's psyche is the issue of loneliness, and the need to fill a void left empty by lost love. Leo Gursky is a retired locksmith who immigrates to New York after escaping SS officers in his native Poland, only to spend the last stage of his life terrified that no one will notice when he dies. ("I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I'm out, I'll buy a juice even though I'm not thirsty.") Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer vacillates between wanting to memorialize her dead father and finding a way to lift her mother's veil of depression. At the same time, she's trying to save her brother Bird, who is convinced he may be the Messiah, from becoming a 10-year-old social pariah. As the connection between Leo and Alma is slowly unmasked, the desperation, along with the potential for salvation, of this unique pair is also revealed.

The poetry of her prose, along with an uncanny ability to embody two completely original characters, is what makes Krauss an expert at her craft. But in the end, it's the absolute belief in the uninteruption of love that makes this novel a pleasure, and a wonder to behold. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

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Sixty years after a book's publication, its author remembers his lost love and missing son, while a teenage girl named for one of the book's characters seeks her namesake, as well as a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness.

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W.W. Norton

3 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393328627, 0393060349, 039332964X

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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