“Alma is named after a character in a little known book that her father had boughten for her mother. After his death, her mother emotionally fractured, receives a letter requesting her to translate the book. Alma believing that this may be the person to revive her mother begins the process of discovering who this person really is and why he wants the book translated. Brilliant and captivating. . A work of art.”Kathe Coleman wrote this review 7 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Leopold Gursky is an old man who is afraid of dyign without anyone knowing it. He is a writer who has a son who is a famous writer, but his son Isaac doesn't know Leo is his father. Alma Singer is a 15 year old girl whose father died when she was young. Alma's mother is now translating The Book of Love for a mysteriosu client. The book is told from alternating points of views and eventually the two main characters lives intersect.”Rachel H wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Alma is trying to help her mother not be sad after her father's death. Leo is hoping his son will finally know him. The History of Love binds the stories. Sad and funny.”Jane H wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Oh my goodness--what an extraordinary book. I am forever thankful that I listened to it 1) because the readers (George Guidall, Barbara Caruso, Julia Gibson, and Andy Paris) are absolutely wonderful and 2) I think it made it easier to keep the characters separated. I have to admit that in the beginning I was having a very difficult time trying to determine what exactly was going on even though I had read some reviews and knew what was supposed to be happening. However, once I started seeing the stories converge and figuring out the connections, it was such a joy to continue listening. Leo Gursky is an eighty some year old who fell in love early in life and has never recovered. Mr. Gursky is such a comic that I laughed out loud at his comments several times. He knows that is life is nearing its end so he constantly makes efforts to confirm that he's still here--like tapping on his radiator each evening to let his friend and upstairs neighbor know he's still alive and kicking! Alma Singer is a young girl who has lost her father and desperately wants to end her mother's loneliness. Throw in additional fun events like World War II, a plagiarist, and a brother who thinks he may be the next Messiah and you get an unbeatable combination of "terrific". I'm putting this book in the same class with "The Night Circus" and "The 13th Tale". I've loved all 3 and loved them even more at 2nd reading (even though I haven't reread this one yet--I just know it will be that way) Read it, read it--listen to it!!”Beverly R. wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The novel, written in 2005 by Nicole Krauss, the wife of Jonathan Safron Foer is the story of Leo Gursky author of The History of Love which he left in the hands of a friend for safe keeping. Leo is a Polish Jew who lost his girl friend when she immigrated to America, his family when the Germans invaded his town and his friend Bruno. Leo finally makes it to America to find he is still very much alone. He is an old man, his only son has never known his biological father. Leo is waiting to die and fighting against being invisible.
Within this work there are many references to authors such as Russian author, Isaac Babel, Polish author Bruno Shultz especially his collection of short stories Street of Crocodiles, passing reference to Cervantes, and references to James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Antoine de Saint Exupéry, and Leo Tolstoy. The book references a book by the same title. This book is about writing and authors and is a book within a book.
Another thing that helps this book stand apart is the graphic designs and structure of the book. The dedication page gives us four pictures; the authors grandparents and the statement “For My Grandparents, who taught me the opposite of disappearing and For Jonathan, my life. In the book, the main character tells us about pictures and how they are proof of life. Chapters have titles and little icons. The first chapter has a heart and the title THE LAST WORDS ON EARTH. In that chapter we learn that Leo had a heart attack and expects to die suddenly any day and fears that he will die alone. Opening the chapter, the first sentences tell us this, ***When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit.**** You can tell that this sad and melancholy work is full of wonderful humor that makes the reading easier.
When I first started reading this book, it made me think of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated then I noticed the introduction for our discussion questions that the author is the wife of Jonathan Safron Foer and that he wrote his book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close at the same time as Ms Krauss wrote her book. They both have young characters who are looking for someone and who encounter old men. They both mention locks. Both books have unique typography.
I liked this book and will give it 5 stars but I did find that I was often confused by the number of characters, non characters, shifting narratives, etc. This is a book that it would be well to read more than once. There is so much here that you can’t really take it all in on one reading.
“I really got into this book, loved the characters and loved the way it turned out.”Zombie Kitten wrote this review Monday, November 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Although this book is a novel, Nicole Krauss wrote this book with words that read like poetry. There is something about this books that grabs your heart and makes you want to remember moments and passages entirely. ”Florence C wrote this review Tuesday, November 12, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this book especially the end of it. This is a book about loss and how loss affects people differently. It is also a book about love and how love can be achieved and revealed in unexpected ways. The mechanics of the book are especially worth nothing. The author is weaving together several seemingly unrelated story lines until they merge in such a clear, concise way. The harmony of the story lines makes this an unforgettable book that ends perfectly. My favorite book of the year!!”Lottie Jane wrote this review Friday, November 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Aga M gave 5 stars! (no review, boo!)”Megalion wrote this review Thursday, November 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
Sometimes worlds fall apart and for that there is no reconstruction, there is only the history of love. And so it is with the characters of Nicole Krauss' book The History of Love; Leo Gursky, a holocaust survivor living in NYC, who is so desperate to affirm his being by having someone notice him each day that he volunteers to be a nude model for an art class; Alma, reeling from her father's death and mother's apathy searching for the character which she was named after in her father's favorite book The History of Love; Bird, her brother in such need that he believes a lamed vovnik, one of the 36 people the world depends on.
Behind the wonderful humor of the book there is a haunting melancholy, the need to touch combined with the inability to do so. To me it seemed weighty:
The War ended. Bit by bit, Litvinoff learned what had happened to his sister Miriam, and to his parents and to four of his other siblings (what had become of his oldest brother, Andre, he could only piece together from probabilities). He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it. It was like living with an elephant. His room was tiny, and every morning he had to squeeze around the truth just to get to the bathroom. To reach the armoire to get a pair of underpants he had to crawl under the truth, praying it wouldn't choose that moment to sit on his face. At night, when he closed his eyes, he felt it looming above him.
The History of Love is an excellent book and I gladly recommend it, my only reservation being that I did not altogether enjoy the excerpts from Leo's books which is most likely a personal quirk of mine.”