“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. ”
“I felt as if I needed Cliffs Notes while reading this book. It was confusing! So I turned to Shelfari and printed off the description and characters to keep myself on track. I am still trying to reconcile all the pieces and loose ends in my mind.
“This was such a wonderful story that has become part of my own 'history of love.' Although the story is convoluted, involved different times, storylines and characters, the author is able to weave them around each other by very effectively giving each narrator a unique vocal style.
It is a story of global proportions, carrying the reader from Poland at the onset of WWII, to Israel and South America, and finally to New York of the recent present. It is also a story of universal emotion, evoking a history of love, loss, sorrow, redemption, and finally, healing.
It is also a book about books, which is a genre I have come to really enjoy recently. The History of Love of the title is a book about Leo Gursky's life love, Alma. He had written it years before, when still living in Poland during the war. Having entrusted his manuscript to a friend, Zvi, who was leaving for South America, Leo has thought his book was gone from his life forever. However, his love story is about to reenter his life through some very unlikely circumstances, which bring together Leo and an adolescent girl from a grieving family, Alma. She had been named for the women in a book called 'The History of Love' that her father gave to her mother. Alma's father had found the volume in a used book store in Chile. All of these threads form the story of The History of Love....the book, the book in the book, and the story of the people whose lives the book has touched.
I loved Leo. I could easily picture him in my head, and hear his voice. He had an endearing quirk of making an observation about life, and then contradicting it in the next breath with a simple "And yet..."I loved Alma. I admired her concern for her family's happiness, her spunk, her initiative, and maturity. It's funny, when I was describing this book to my Dad after finishing it, he said:
"It's hard to believe that all of those coincidental things could happen....and yet."”
“I probably didn't give this book enough energy. I know the story is complex, and has to do with a lost manuscript and the merging of past and present as a result.
Part of it is a coming of age story of a 14 year old girl trying to heal her mother's loneliness, as mom translates an old manuscript that turns out to be written by someone from a past generation and thought lost forever.”
“Love in all it's forms. And yet. Leo Gursky. His life. Alma. Words stolen by a friend. Zvi. Published as his own. And yet. The love continues. Life continues. Loss continues. Bruno a friend found again. The independent life of the book 'A History of Love' continues. David Singer who found the book. Alma Singer. Bird, a maybe 'lamed vovniks'. And yet. A story within a story within a story. Making a scene to be noticed and thus know your alive. A note pinned to a sweater in case you die while lying on a park bench. And yet. A beautiful story. Beautifully told. ”Rina wrote this review Monday, May 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When I finished this book I almost burst into tears, the good kind. I laughed out loud at least a dozen times while reading it! It is filled with raw human emotion and experience. But – it was really hard to follow. It was done that way on purpose and I am so glad to be done with reading it and move on to other things. I am glad that I read it.
“lovely, lovely book...”Irina Alexandra wrote this review Friday, July 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"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".”Lucas Lanza wrote this review Tuesday, May 7, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“There are puzzles contained between the characters' relationships that aren't fully disclosed until the end of the book. I will take time to read it again to enjoy the craft of Krauss' plot.”CLAUDIA NICHOLS wrote this review Monday, May 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No