Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Book: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating:★★★★★
For: Book Club
From: personal copy that I've had for so long I have no idea where it came from

Yay that I've FINALLY read this book! I loved it. It's an awesome story with some awesome characters and a confusing plot that makes you think... in a good way!

It's told from three even sometimes four points of view. The "main" one is an old guy who has lived a lonely life and he's afraid he's going to die soon and no one will have noticed him at all. As he narrates, we learn that his past includes escaping the Holocaust, (but his family did not) and how he then spent years hiding. And that he loved a girl all through childhood but she was sent to America just before the war, that he wrote a book about her, that he wrote another book recently after suffering a heart attack, and that he has spent his  later life being a locksmith in New York and hanging out with his friend Bruno.

The second narrator is a young girl whose father died several years prior and whose mother is still not doing well. She has determined to find someone to make her happy, and she thinks that maybe the guy who has recently requested a translation of a particular book, just might be the answer.

Then we have the author of the book mentioned above and his story and the book's story, and how that connects to the two people mentioned above.

And now and again we also hear from the girl's strange little brother, because he sees some things that have impact on the story also.

In the end, all the stories come together in a very clever and profound way. Getting there was a little confusing though, and often I was wondering how this could happen and what was going on, but I knew it would work and it was awesome.

I loved the voice of the old guy. He was funny and down to earth and so sad. The girl reminded me a lot of Fanny from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She was smart and a thinker and a plotter.

I really enjoyed the style of this one! And I hope to search out this author's other books! And maybe even her husband's (Jonathan Safran Foer) too!

Bottom line: I loved it.

Other Reviews:

Permeated in this literary novel is an affecting sense of loss and love, and disappointment in life........This book just takes my breath away. From A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Such a beautiful book that just invites you in so easily From Sarah Reads Too Much

But bottom line is this is a beautiful and moving book that I think you should all go read right now. From Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity

Altogether, I found the story haunting, revealing, thought-provoking, and beautiful. From One Literature Nut

19 comments:

  1. I read this many years ago and didn't like it at all! Not liking it made me sad then and makes me sad now, it's one of those books that I feel I *should* like. So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Joanna: Wow! Yes, I've only heard good things! What was it that you didn't like?

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  2. This was one of my favorite books when it first came out. I am glad you liked it. I thought the ending was perfect!

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  3. We read this a few years ago for book club -- it's the perfect book club book!! So much to discuss!!! And the ending?! Awesome!

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    1. Melissa: We had a bit of hard time discussing it last night because we were trying not to spoil it for the few that hadn't quite finished it!

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  4. I finished it! Really loved it but definitely needs to be reread someday. I'm still a touch confused...in a good way.

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    1. Jenny: I'm so glad you liked it! Whew!

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  5. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I never got to it. I was too busy focusing on other books.

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    1. Jenni: I know, I'm having a bit of a focusing problem too....

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  6. I had a friend who did not like it all after someone who had loved it raved about it and even bought her a copy. she handed me that copy and asked me to read it, because I think she was hoping that it wasn't just her? or maybe I could convince her of its merits?--this rarely happens to me. so I read it.

    I could see why she wouldn't like it, despite the excellent writing. the construction would've seemed unnecessary to her, and the old man who can seem beautiful to some could be repulsive to others. and you have to see the book through and absorb all the connections.

    I love the writing. I do like the style, too. I've heard Great House is really good and have been meaning to read that one.

    ~L (omphaloskepsis)

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    1. L: We talked about how the old man was at first a bit put off -ish, but then how we all grew to really like him. I hope to add Great House to my pile soon!

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  7. I knew she was married to another author but couldn't remember who so thanks for mentioning it. And I heard all kinds of bad things about her other book so I'm glad this one worked well.

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    1. Jenners: Really? I've only heard good things about her all the way around!

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  8. When I saw your tweet about loving or hating this one I was so afraid you didn't like but. I'm thrilled that you did. I found this one to be really confusing as well and kept texting my friend wondering when it was going to get better. and then BAM! So glad you loved it!!

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  9. I saw this post on my feed and had to comment. The most convoluted plot ever and I adored it. The beginning made me laugh out loud several times. There are very few books I re-read, but this is high on my list.

    I look forward to reading a review for one of her other books.
    Thanks.

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  10. We read this one for my bookclub and it was a disaster, no one else even finished it. I really don' t think they got it.

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  11. I love this one, and I hated her husband's, which is very similar in plot. I didn't realize that until I read your review here!

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  12. I read this one before I started blogging, but I adored it! I really need to re-read it this year. I'm so glad you were a fan.

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