Friday, December 19, 2014

The History of Love

Book: The History of Love
Author: Nicole Krauss

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).-Goodreads

Review: It's official. My favorite (literary) elderly person is Leo Gursky. While my heart broke for young lovers Leo and Alma, I fell in love with Leo as a crotchety old man in the last years of his life. He was introspective, he was lonely and he just wanted people to notice him. He also had a lot of heart and was willing to make changes late in life, which I respect. He was also funny! 

This was a beautifully written tale of Leo and a young girl named Alma. Told in alternating narratives and timelines (random comment: I feel like over half the books I read are organized like this. I wonder if it was recommended at a large writing workshop a few years ago?) I loved Leo's sections. I was slightly annoyed by the use of "And yet." when he was thinking but Leo, as noted in the above paragraph, is fab. Krauss really nailed the psyche of a teenage girl for Alma and while her list style writing took a little getting used it, I enjoyed her journey to find her namesake.  Unfortunately, the one part of the book that was a challenge for me was the actual book Leo wrote, "The History of Love." I found those sections so tedious I just started skimming them toward the middle. 

Overall-I really enjoyed this, it's a beautiful, albeit sad book about love and loss. 

Grade: 4/5

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