Monday, October 6, 2008

Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

2 of 9 for the Fall Reading Challenge
5 of 10 for the Book Awards II Challenge

genre: adult fiction
rating: 4/5

With grace and muted passion, The History of Love delves into the interconnected-ness that exists between us as lone individuals.

Alma is a lonely 15 year old girl with a Dad who passed on when she was young. Leo is an old Jewish immigrant from Poland who is essentially waiting to die, feeling as though he's never found a place for himself. Their distinct voices and narratives are both lyrical and profound and their stories pluck at the issues that lie deepest within in us. The two storylines weave and mingle - slowly combining as those who are looking for answers find them in the least obvious places.

The one thing that these two strangers have in common is a book. This book, "The History of Love," is a poetic treatise on the way that humans have come to need - and find - that true love that we all crave. One of my favorite quotes:
"Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist. There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written, or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom, or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then, for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges, and absorbs the impact."
The entire text of the book within the book is that heartfelt and beautiful, it radiates with a sort of primal truth about what it means to have human emotions.

While mysteries are solved and loose ends are, for the post part, tied up, the ending still left me feeling a bit left out. As if the curtain was let down before I was finished. That being said, though, it is most definitely a unique read and don't let the ending dissuade you!! The journey is still absolutely worth it. The plot is a twist on the average novel, a solid story with an ethereal feel all about one seemingly obscure book and the fragile need we all have to love and be loved.


kalea_kane said...

Thank you for a great review. I just might have to look this one up!

bethany said...

I LOVED this book!!! I read it for my book club (local one) and it was a hit. I actually enjoyed the ending, it made sense to me, and I like somewhat of an open ended finish so that I can imagine what happened. :)

Tricia said...

I agree with you about the ending, but I loved this book too.

Trish said...

Sounds like a really good book, but I'm sorry it left you a little unsettled. Sometimes more open endings don't work for me either.

Serena said...

Thanks for another great review. I really enjoyed it, and I think I may have to pick this book up myself.

Fyrefly said...

I know I loved this book when I read it a few years ago, but it seems like most of the details have slipped out of my mind between then and now. Sounds like time for a re-read!

Sandra said...

I loved this book. I'm glad you reviewed it. I get a little tired of seeing only the most recently released books getting reviewed and talked about on book blogs. So thank you.

Anna said...

Sounds like a great read. I'm intrigued by the passage you posted.


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