The History of Love

The History of Love

Book - 2005
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A long-lost book reappears, mysteriously connecting an old man searching for his son and a girl seeking a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness. 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: New York : Norton, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393060348
Branch Call Number: FIC Krau
Characteristics: 252 p


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May 16, 2020

This is one of my all-time favorite novels - I even bought a photograph at a street fair after reading the book because I thought the man in the photo looked just like I imagined Leo Gursky, the protagonist of this beautiful story. Leo just felt completely real to me - an aging New York City curmudgeon with a past that involves an escape from Poland during WWII. Alternately funny and heart-wrenching. Chapters alternate between Leo’s story and Alma’s (a young girl trying to figure out her own background), and though their stories interest eventually, it’s Leo’s voice that haunts you.

Dec 12, 2019

I'm not comfortable being the odd one out here but I didn't enjoy the book. Leo Gursky was a well written character in the beginning. He had a crazy kind of charm. Even though I didn't like it much I couldn't leave it & walk away from it which might say something positive about it, maybe?

Mar 16, 2019

I quite enjoyed this book! I went in not knowing anything about it - it was the book of the month for my local library’s discussion group. I loved Leo Gursky and thought his story was so tragic, funny, heartfelt, lonely, and wholesome. I didn’t care too much for Bird. Also, it was confusing in some parts, you really need to read carefully. I did find it interesting some of the thoughts of my discussion group - but decided not to change my initial rating of the book. I wish there was an actual “History of Love” book which I could read (which this book was based upon) - unless I just don’t know about it. Beautifully written! Unexpectedly relateable! I recommend it!

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 .

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