Thursday, May 2, 2013

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Pages of History Untold  

Once in a while, a certain novel will cross our path and it will capture us in a way that mere words will not suffice to describe how we felt after reading it. THE HISTORY OF LOVE is unbelievably strong; its wonders are beyond my capacity to convey. While reading the book, I remember how many times my eyes brimmed with tears, yet I remember beaming and laughing too. Such a veritable diversity of emotions in one novel is oftentimes inexplicable.
“It is 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 –just to name it- must have been like trying to catch something invisible.”
The story was brought about by a book entitled The History of Love, written by Leopold Gursky in his younger years. He wrote, “The first woman may have been Eve, but the first girl will always be Alma." Inspired by his love for Alma Mereminski, this book was Leo’s most treasured work. When WWII invaded his hometown Slonim, located in Poland, both book and girl was lost to him.
“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."
 At the age of 80, Leo strives hard to let people know that he exists. His invisibility to the world frightens him. He was afraid that he will die alone, soon, and no one will even know about it. His desperation to get attention every day drove him to do some very outrageous feat.  Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, his book survived and has inspired loves and lives spanning through the decades.
"The moment had passed, the door between the lives we could have led and the lives we led had shut in our faces."
 The story unfolds through Leo’s memories moving back and forth in time, and through the perspective of three other characters.  Among these three, it was Alma Singer’s perspective that directly parallels Leo’s accounts. After the untimely death of her father, Alma tried to bring balance back into her family’s life; she strongly believes that The History of Love is the key.
“The truth is the thing I invented so I could live.”
 How the four perspectives will eventually converge into one is the great journey that the reader will have to take. The characters’ unraveling, their outlook in life, and inner strength created a focus that entraps the readers into reading on. The mystery of how the story culminates is the exhale that every reader will look forward to.
“At times I believed that the last page of my book and the last page of my life were one and the same, that when my book ended I’d end, a great wind would sweep through my rooms carrying the pages away, and when the air cleared of all those fluttering white sheets the room would be silent, the chair where I sat would be empty.”
 I believe that in the hands of a lesser writer this story is but a jumble of words. Nicole Krauss is a master of language, a seamless craftsman of plots, and a vivid painter of characters. Each character has this sorrowful voice that leads us to heartbreaking truths, joyful discernment, and unexpected closures –such things that only a poignant novel can accomplish.

Book Details:
Title: The History of Love
Author: Nicole Krauss
Publisher: QPD
Genre: Fiction
Rating: ★★★★★


  1. Ooooh. Can't wait to read this one too. I've been reading raves about it. :)