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The History of Love
The History of Love
Author: Nicole Krauss
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 is just about surviving, tapping his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But life wasn't always like this: sixty years ago, in the Polish...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780393328622
ISBN-10: 0393328627
Publication Date: 5/1/2006
Pages: 272
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 493 ratings
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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reviewed The History of Love on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Among my top 10 favorite books of ALL TIME. At first you have no idea how these narratives all relate, but by the end, you're turning the pages so quickly as connection by connection, it's all revealed. I would read it again and again and again ... no surprise it's won dozens and dozens of awards and critical acclaim. Beautiful and unique storytelling.
reviewed The History of Love on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I am probably not popular with my review, but I struggled to finish this book. I thought the storyline was too hard to follow and I was constantly having to read back to remember the characters/plot.
reviewed The History of Love on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to really like this book or really dislike it - and so put it down for almost 2 months. However, I picked it back up a few nights ago and absolutely got drawn in to the story.

Simply, it is a book about two people - elderly Leo Gurksy and teenager Alma Singer - who are lonely and looking for love and answers. Ultimately, those answers come in the form of the book "The History of Love." While the concept is fairly simple, the storytelling is not. It's multi-layered and complex, goes back and forth in time, and leaves the reader little clues along the way that you don't recognize until the end. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was sad to finish it.
reviewed The History of Love on
Helpful Score: 7
I was excited to read this book - it had some good reviews and the title was intriguing. However, I felt the book was disjointed; the author did not effectively move between time periods and I had to re-read some passages to figure out who was narrating the chapter I was reading.

The chapters that focused on Leo were much more interesting to me than the sections on Alma. Some of the sections written from Leo's perspective are very well written and descriptive. However, as I was reading the book I felt like the author was building up to something that never materialized.

I also felt the use of the one and two word sentences were annoying. It would have been fine to use them occasionally for effect but it was too frequent IMHO.

Im glad I reserved this book at the library and didnt spend my $ to purchase it.
reviewed The History of Love on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This is a beautiful story - one of the best books I've ever read. And it has, hands down, one of the greatest characters ever written in Leo Gursky.
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reviewed The History of Love on + 19 more book reviews
From the back cover:

Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother's lonelinesss. Believing that she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man named Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days dreaming of the lost love who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn't know it yet, that book also survived: crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives...

In The History of Love, Nicole Krauss has written a book about losing things and finding things, about loss and grieving, and about love - and the lengths you'll go to to hold onto it. A spectacular book written with that bit of postmodern 'stuff' and magical realism both she and her husband (Jonathan Safran Foer) are known for, the book stretches out over time from the 2nd World War to present day, following the points of view of four characters who criss-cross the world from New York to Poland to South America. Krauss has created some really compelling characters and an overall mood in the novel that makes it stand out. It's beautifully worded and written; and so it's easy to fall into.

"Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone's hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted -wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, reamin uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don't look at me. If you don't, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me." (p.57)

Why do people always get named after dead people? If they have to be named after anything at all, why can't it be things, which have more permanence, like the sky or the sea, or even ideas, which never really die, not even bad ones? (p. 176)
reviewed The History of Love on + 120 more book reviews
Unfortunately, I lot of the Jewish references to authors, artists, poets etc went over my head; I think I would have a greater appreciation if I did recognize some of them. So I could only read this as a love story. I think...umm, maybe this book for me crossed the line into sappiness too many times. But I did like the characters and their quirkiness mingled with their sadness/intelligence. I especially liked the young Alma and her detective work. But bottom line is, this is a very sentimental book. If you can read such lines as "This is the book I'd give you if I could write about our love" (not quoting verbatim but that's the essence) without cringing then you will probably really fall in love (sorry!) with this book.
reviewed The History of Love on + 92 more book reviews
This is my book of the month for August (see Hidden Gems:best book of the month discussion)
It held me until the very end, very touching and engaging! All about identity,visibility and entangled lives,I recommend it highly!