The History of Love

The History of Love

Book - 2005 | First edition
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Baker & Taylor
Sixty years after a book's publication, its author remembers his lost love and missing son, while a teenage girl, named for one of the book's characters, seeks her namesake, as well as a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness. By the author of Man Walks Into a Room. First serial, The New Yorker. 70,000 first printing.

Norton Pub

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.

New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing
Winner of the Borders Original Voices Award
Finalist for the Orange Prize
#1 Booksense Pick
Winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award
Winner of France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger Award

Blackwell North Amer
Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he’s still alive. But it wasn’t always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book. . . . Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of “extraordinary depth and beauty” (Newsday).

& Taylor

Sixty years after a book's publication, its author remembers his lost love and missing son, while a teenage girl named for one of the book's characters seeks her namesake, as well as a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness.

Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton, [2005]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2005
ISBN: 9780393060348
Branch Call Number: FIC Krauss, N 2005
Characteristics: 252 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 16, 2019

I quite enjoyed this book! I went in not knowing anything about it - it was the book of the month for my local library’s discussion group. I loved Leo Gursky and thought his story was so tragic, funny, heartfelt, lonely, and wholesome. I didn’t care too much for Bird. Also, it was confusing in some parts, you really need to read carefully. I did find it interesting some of the thoughts of my discussion group - but decided not to change my initial rating of the book. I wish there was an actual “History of Love” book which I could read (which this book was based upon) - unless I just don’t know about it. Beautifully written! Unexpectedly relateable! I recommend it!

Dominique_G Feb 06, 2019

A beautifully-written history within a history. Although seemingly complex at first, readers will enjoy the beautiful prose, the intricacy of detail, and the act of connecting the puzzle pieces within the narratives. The ending marries both simple and epiphanic. A heartfelt and well-recommended read!

Oct 31, 2018

I'm not sure how to shelve this one; it's a mystery of sorts, at least for the first half. The personalities are very confusing until Krauss begins to reveal what had happened earlier; I got so muddled that I had to go back to re-read several sections (didn't help). So in spite of a lot of truly exceptional prose and wonderful character presentations, I found the first half of it a frustrating experience.
Some readers have denigrated the book as sentimental schmaltz, on account of the Gursky character and his New York Jewish patter. That's too bad, because this writer's facility in creating totally unique and believable voices for her characters is what gives the book its special charm. And yet she is able to leave those earthy human voices behind, take on a different style altogether and launch into truly spectacular prose in the passages she quotes from the book-within-a-book. In fact, I was so mesmerized by those sections that I find myself wishing she would undertake to actually write that fictitious book and publish it on its own.
As for the plot, I acknowledge that it's contrived and certainly requires some suspension of disbelief; but for me, that's acceptable as long as it remains entertaining and is handled deftly as it is here. This is after all fiction, not a history lesson.
Krauss is also to be lauded for producing a book that sits under the shadow of the holocaust without allowing that shadow to obliterate everything and destroy any possibility that normal life can carry on. She doesn't sugar coat anything but for Krauss and the characters she creates, it is still possible to love, to hope, to strive and to find purpose in life.

Aug 30, 2018

A lovely book. Humanity, mystery, and wry humor.
I requested that they order more copies. Only two separately listed hard copies is not enough.

Aug 27, 2016

Even though I have to consult other websites to confirm my understanding of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Krauss' lead characters are exquisite and captivating and, best of all, do not require verbosity to garner those accolades!

Jan 11, 2016

Beautiful, rich, painful, satisfying. Love and loss and longing. I'll reread this whenever I want to pine and moon.

It loses one star for being too digestible. The first time I read it I fell in love, it was my very favourite... and then a week later it was gone. This book is delicious, but it doesn't linger.

Jun 01, 2015

I enjoyed this book for several reasons. The characters were well developed and the storyline was complex. It would be an interesting book club choice.

multcolib_susannel May 31, 2014

I read this book in one day in one sitting. Now days later I am still reading it in my heart .

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

In this novel, an obscure, stolen translation of a Spanish book called
The History of Love connects two New Yorkers. Leo is an elderly immigrant who fled WWII Poland, settled in New York City, and pines for his lost love and his son. Alma is a teenage girl caring for her widowed mother and her brother. Alma convinces herself that the key to her mother’s happiness is locked within the pages of The History of Love.

brianreynolds May 28, 2013

My second reading of Nicole Krauss' The History of Love was just as visceral as it was the first go-round, just as rewarding as well. To really do its job, a tale of loss depends on likeable losers. Krauss' collection of unrelated characters are all ones for whom a reader can feel sympathy. The aging Leo Gursky suffers not only the loss of the love of his life and the contact of his only son, but the theft of a book, which for him represents the very quiet but fundamental wish to avoid total invisibility. Beyond the compassion generated by the untimely loss of their husband/ father, the Singer survivors all show enviable courage and intelligence. Even the plagiarist, Litvinoff (like Gursky, a Holocaust survivor) commits his crime in quest of love, in part from ignorance and in part from desperation. Krauss builds suspense by letting her four POV characters each hold keys to the solution without any interest in a common goal—a situation that continually teases the reader with the unlikely possibility they will be able to help solve each other's problems. They are ships that not only pass each other in the dark, but that are in constant danger of running aground. Regardless of who Krauss might be married to or if there are similarities to other works of fiction or if the lack of an omniscient character to walk the reader through the plot requires some effort, this is a powerful story of survival that tiptoes between tragedy (isolation) and comedy (union) so deftly, so gracefully I will resist the temptation to spoil the outcome.

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