The History of Love

The History of Love

Book - 2005
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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.
Publisher: New York : Norton, ©2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393328622
Branch Call Number: FICTION KRAUSS
Characteristics: 252 pages ; 25 cm


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multcolib_susannel May 31, 2014

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

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.

Krauss imbues a fragile and possibly-lost-forever manuscript, with soul, passion and heartache. By slowly revealing its chapters, she sheds light on the souls and passions and love of the people whose lives it has touched.

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Dominique_G Feb 06, 2019

A beautifully-written history within a history. Although seemingly complex at first, readers will enjoy the beautiful prose, the intricacy of detail, and the act of connecting the puzzle pieces within the narratives. The ending marries both simple and epiphanic. A heartfelt and well-recommended read!

Oct 31, 2018

I'm not sure how to shelve this one; it's a mystery of sorts, at least for the first half. The personalities are very confusing until Krauss begins to reveal what had happened earlier; I got so muddled that I had to go back to re-read several sections (didn't help). So in spite of a lot of truly exceptional prose and wonderful character presentations, I found the first half of it a frustrating experience.
Some readers have denigrated the book as sentimental schmaltz, on account of the Gursky character and his New York Jewish patter. That's too bad, because this writer's facility in creating totally unique and believable voices for her characters is what gives the book its special charm. And yet she is able to leave those earthy human voices behind, take on a different style altogether and launch into truly spectacular prose in the passages she quotes from the book-within-a-book. In fact, I was so mesmerized by those sections that I find myself wishing she would undertake to actually write that fictitious book and publish it on its own.
As for the plot, I acknowledge that it's contrived and certainly requires some suspension of disbelief; but for me, that's acceptable as long as it remains entertaining and is handled deftly as it is here. This is after all fiction, not a history lesson.
Krauss is also to be lauded for producing a book that sits under the shadow of the holocaust without allowing that shadow to obliterate everything and destroy any possibility that normal life can carry on. She doesn't sugar coat anything but for Krauss and the characters she creates, it is still possible to love, to hope, to strive and to find purpose in life.

Aug 30, 2018

A lovely book. Humanity, mystery, and wry humor.
I requested that they order more copies. Only two separately listed hard copies is not enough.

Aug 27, 2016

Even though I have to consult other websites to confirm my understanding of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Krauss' lead characters are exquisite and captivating and, best of all, do not require verbosity to garner those accolades!

Jan 11, 2016

Beautiful, rich, painful, satisfying. Love and loss and longing. I'll reread this whenever I want to pine and moon.

It loses one star for being too digestible. The first time I read it I fell in love, it was my very favourite... and then a week later it was gone. This book is delicious, but it doesn't linger.

Jun 01, 2015

I enjoyed this book for several reasons. The characters were well developed and the storyline was complex. It would be an interesting book club choice.

multcolib_susannel May 31, 2014

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

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

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.

brianreynolds May 28, 2013

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

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.

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