“the two stories that finally meshed together at the very last second were totally hard to follow and hard to see how they would join. even when they did I felt it lacked something...can't put my finger on it. I wouldn't recommend this one.”Leslie F wrote this review Thursday, October 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The History of Love – Krauss
Audio performance by George Guidell, Julia Gibson and others
This is another book with parallel and eventually intersecting story lines. It worked beautifully as a multi-voiced audio book.
The first story line is related by Leopold Gursky. Leo is old, Jewish, and lonely. He says, “All I want is not to die on a day I went unseen.” (To that end, he answers an ad to be a nude model for a drawing class.) But he wants more than that. He wants to be acknowledged by the son he did not raise. Leo is funny, endearing , heartbreaking and possibly not the most reliable of narrators. He is also the original author of a mysterious, lost and reappearing book called The History of Love.
Alma Singer is a 15 year old girl who was named for a character in The History of Love. All of her life she has known how her parent’s passionate relationship was deeply influenced by this book. Following her father, David Singer’s death, Alma’s mother is commissioned to translate this very book. In a misguided effort to alleviate her mother’s grief, Alma begins to research the book’s author and its origins. The story is convoluted. There’s not much action; it’s all about the characters.
I loved Leo Gursky. He could have been pathetic, but instead he was a survivor, with humor. I liked Alma, but, like most teenagers, she became annoying at times. I was completely engrossed in both parts of the story until the end. It took the author a bit too long to bring her story lines together. And, once she did unravel the tangles, the book ended abruptly.
“This book reminded me of my daughter, Cristina, and of myself... Not the same circumstances but enough similarities. I read the book on iBooks and when I finished I purchased the hard-cover and gave it to Cristina as a gift. A touching story and suspenseful at the end. One of my new favorites. ”Paula S wrote this review Monday, September 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Its difficult to review this book without giving spoilers! Suffice to say that there are several interlinking stories, many words of wisdom and very interesting, believable characters. It is a really unusual story which left me wistful and moved.”Elizabeth M wrote this review Monday, August 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“At first his book was a little hard to follow....but once I got into it I couldn't put it down. Alma, Leo, and zti are the main characters and how their lives intertwine is beautifully written. The ending was perfect! ”Angie W wrote this review Thursday, August 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ I couldn't finish this book. I was a third of the way through.”CHRISTINE K wrote this review Thursday, July 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Such a beautiful, sad book. The reader is made helpless to act, because he knows what is happening, but the caracters are of course not real.
This book's beginning is so funny, I read it three times and every time I laughed out loud. ”
“My husband gave me this to read on vacation in Martha's Vineyard. I know the reviewers love it, but it wasn't my favorite. I like the tricks the writer uses with layout; the last chapter goes back and forth between Leo and Alma's thoughts, and at times there is only a line on each page. The story of Leo's lost book and loneliness in interesting, as is Alma's life. Somehow, though, I wanted more. Maybe another chapter to connect everyone. Maybe an ending similar to the one Alma's brother imagined. It was a let down after reading City of Thieves, which is the best book I have read all summer.”Daphne Scullin wrote this review Sunday, July 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Love this book so much it hurts. Inspiring! Every single page is beautiful.”supernannyhayley wrote this review Wednesday, July 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Wow. This is. Quite easily. The best book I've read this year. I absolutely do not want to give even a little of the plot away as you should savor every page yourself. Krauss has woven together a book that tries to answer the question what does it really mean when you say you will love someone forever. Her answer weaves together depths of sadness and heights of joy; characters like Leo Gursky, Alma Singer and Bird that I don't think I will ever forget; delightful literary references including two of my other favorites of the year, Jorge Luis Borges and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; all against a backdrop exploration of what it means to be Jewish in the last half of the 20th century.
When I was about half way through the book the phrase that came to mind was "heartbreaking work of staggering genius;" not in the ironic way meant by Eggers, or in the hackneyed way that so many reviewers hype books beyond their merits, but in the way it would mean if that phrase were written new, today, and applied only to this book. Sincerely and honestly. ”