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text 2015-10-22 16:05
History Of Love
The History of Love - Nicole Krauss

In the book “History of Love” by Nicole Krauss , Leopold Gursky  had a neighbor named Alma. Alma was the girl whom Leo fell in love with and sooner became closer and closer. They had a relationship for 10 years but Alma's father wanted her to go to United States. Alma didn't want to leave Leo. Leo gave Alma 3 books he had written for her journey, one book "History of Love" was dedicated for Alma. It was a sign that Leo will never love anyone else but her. Three and a half year later Alma is pregnant and is married to another guy who is not Leo, but Leo doesn't know that she was pregnant until he made it to America. She was shocked to see him , those three and a half year Alma thought Leo was dead from the war in Germany. Leo wanted her to go with him so they can go back but Alma refuses she wanted herself and her child to remain in America. So Leo just accepted what she wanted and left. Leo sometimes watches Isaac (Isaac is Alma's son) but is scared to talk to him. Five years later Alma has died but Leo still kept a watch on Isaac. He was proud to see Isaac become a writer just like Leo. Isaac died without ever knowing Leo. In the story a new perspective comes in , Alma Singer who was named after the book "History of Love" had a bit of a family issue. Her father died from cancer at age 7 and now ever since the father had died the mother is depressed and lonely. So Alma looks for her a new husband for her mother. That guy was Leo Gursky. They made an appointment to meet each other Alma and Leo speaks to each other but Leo one day got a heart attack so Leo never really got to get close to Alma's mother as much.

    This book connects to the world because many people sometimes breaks the most important promises such as what Alma (not the daughter) did she promised Leo that she also will not love another man but she married another man.


  I think I would recommend this book to others especially people who likes novels. I would recommend this book because it's like a book talking about another book with the same title.That may seem silly but another reason is because it's romantic but yet sad. Mostly books with romance usually end with a happily ever after but this book ends when a woman just meets a new love and that new love dies.

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text 2015-04-18 14:03
The History of Love by Nichole Krauss
The History of Love - Nicole Krauss

The great tragedy of life is this then, our friends are not allowed to finish their stories.


My second reading of this book bore out my feeling the first time I read it. The first two hundred pages are a stunningly beautiful and moving account of love and loss and the stories hidden within stories and then, of a sudden, it’s as if Krauss handed the novel over to her distinctly less talented husband to finish off the book. She ruins it with the fourth of her narrators, the entirely preposterous whimsy of Bird who is a kind of identikit of Foer’s equally irritating cutesy cutesy little boy narrator in Extremely Loud. Bird is a mistake and the attempt to add still more madcap tomfoolery and another search for a missing person, a person who doesn’t exist, is just daft. Bird as a character is a joke that simply isn’t funny. And to make another mystery of a mystery, to create another story with the honeycomb of stories, backfires horribly so late in the novel. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that punctures so catastrophically towards the end and has left me feeling so angry and cheated.


I'd forgotten how beautiful most of this novel is. How poignantly and succinctly Krauss conveys the childhood love of two Jewish children before the Nazis arrive. How magically she recreates Leo’s memory. And how alive and full of the heart is the old man recollecting himself as a boy in the narrative. Leo is a brilliant and heartwarming depiction of old age just as Alma is a fabulous evocation of adolescence.

Krauss writes brilliantly about love, in all of its forms. She’s got a marvellous eye for epiphanies and evokes them with searing poetic simplicity. And the multi-layered form of the novel where three narrators are each telling missing parts of each other’s stories is brilliantly achieved. It also works great as a literary detective story. Almost you have to keep a list of the clues as you’re reading.


So, absolutely brilliant until Krauss’ ultimate recourse to whimsy, as if she and her husband were sharing some private joke, and which comes very close to spoiling the poignant moving emotional fabric of this novel. Conclusion? The Great House is the better novel.

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review 2015-03-05 00:00
The History of Love
The History of Love - Nicole Krauss Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love is quite possibly my very favorite modern novel. Though I’ve read this story more times than nearly any other (with the exception of Pride and Prejudice), every time I revisit The History of Love, I feel like I’m reading the story for the very first time. I guess that sounds a bit cliche and maybe it could more accurately be attributed to my poor memory than the style and grace of the novel. Nonetheless, it truly is a treat to read each and every time and, upon my last re-read, I thought it was about time I posted about it.

Though this intelligent novel is in some ways a love story, don’t let the title fool you – it’s not your typical cheesy romance novel. Instead, Krauss weaves a story centered around a fictitious novel entitled The History of Love. This hauntingly beautiful book plays a pivotal role in the life of fourteen-year-old Alma who was named after the beloved character around who the fictitious novel is centered and that of the elderly writer Leo Gursky who is living out his last days in the company of his memories of Poland and his greatest love. Seemingly disparate but deeply drawn characters are wound together in this extraordinary story. Though it can be hard at times to follow the various intersecting story lines, all told with separate times, settings, and narrators, The History of Love is the single, delicate thread that holds these lives together by the end, when it all starts to make a little more sense. This isn’t the kind of story that knowingly leaves you in the dark, though it does throw little surprises the reader’s way that make it all the more touching and delightful.

As I’ve said, Krauss tells her story through a variety of alternating narrators. Though I’m usually a fan of this style of delivery, there is undoubtedly always that character in every book whose story I find myself anxious to get through. At the very least, I usually favor one or two of the voices over the others and am most drawn to those particular storylines. Not so with The History of Love. Despite the stark contrast between the styles employed by the very different narrators of this novel, I revel in each and every voice that Krauss employs to tell her story. No one character’s piece is any more or less interesting, entertaining, or appealing to read; but rather, they are all highly interesting, entertaining, and appealing.

I really can’t say enough about this book’s brilliance and how much of an impact it has had on me. I feel like this is a relatively short book review post for me, but that’s partly attributable to the fact that this novel is such a joy to read. I hope that my short but sweet summary will encourage readers to seek this novel out, without spoiling any of the joy that is indulging in The History of Love. I also don’t think that my praises could really do justice to such a well-thought-out, intelligent, but heartbreaking piece of literature so here are a few of my favorite excerpts.

“Maybe this is how I’ll go, in a fit of laughter, what could be better, laughing and crying, laughing and singing, laughing so as to forget that I am alone, that it is the end of my life, that death is waiting outside the door for me.”

“Once upon a time there was a boy who love a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”

“Having begun to feel, people’s desire to feel grew. They wanted to feel more, feel deeper, despite how much it sometimes hurt. People became addicted to feeling. They struggled to uncover new emotions. It’s possible that this is how art was born. New kinds of joy were forged, along with new kinds of sadness: The eternal disappointment of life as it is; the relief of unexpected reprieve; the fear of dying.”

“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.”

She’s also married to Jonathan Safran Foer and it is truly remarkable how similar The History of Love is to Everything Is Illuminated in subject matter, narrative style, and genre-transcendence. I would highly recommend The History of Love to Foer fans in particular.
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review 2014-12-05 04:10
The History of Love
The History of Love - Nicole Krauss

I grabbed this from my bookstore job because I liked the title and cover. I vaguely suspected it would be shmaltzy. Which it was, sort of, but I ended up liking it anyway. It reminded me naggingly of Jonathan Safran Foer's work, and I was not surprised to find the two authors are married: they share a set of very similar themes and even storylines. Of the two, Krauss impresses me more. She is less precious, more heart-ful than her spouse. Points lost for child characters who strain credibility, but more than making up for them with a fantastic old man. (Old people > children in books for me these days.)

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review 2014-05-08 22:47
This is a good novel for certain kind of people. Not me. Definitely not my cup of tea
Great House: A Novel - Nicole Krauss

Intriguing, smart, sharp and serious reading that I had to go through twice so I could pick up all the pieces and put them together in a coherent perspective (not necessarily a good thing).

Unlike "The History of Love", this novel lacks humor and wit in its essence. It brings to us four different stories that are told as confessions and all of them are serious, dark, difficult and sorrowful. Shattered lives of people are connected through the existence and ownership of a writing desk which with its existence and even more the lack of it changes the lives of its owners.

The novel begins with the story of Nadia, a divorced writer living in New York City. She got her writing desk from a young Chilean poet, Daniel Varsky in her twenties. Her boyfriend left her and took the majority of the furniture with him. Daniel Varsky was looking for someone to take his furniture while he returns to Chile for a while. Nadia and Daniel spent one night together which ended with a single kiss and Daniel left her with his furniture from which she loved the writing desk the most. Soon after that, Daniel stopped writing to her and once she asked about him she learned that he was one of the Pinochet's disappeared. Now, a couple of decades later, a young woman by the name of Leah Weisz calls her from Jerusalem and asks about the desk because she is Daniel's daughter. She wants the desk back.

The narration continues with Aaron, the father of two sons, Uri and Dov from which Dov was the one who hurt him the most. Dov left Israel and his parents and moved to England. Now, he returned only because his mother had passed away. Aaron always found Dov difficult to love. Dov was often the reason he fought with his wife because she understood him and Aaron never did. Aaron is angered with his son because he excelled at leaving things, leaving writing when he told him to, leaving his girlfriends, parents and country behind and becoming a judge in London, leaving his position and London to come back... it seemed like leaving was all he ever knew.

The third story is told by Arthur Bender, a professor at Oxford University who loves his wife, writer Lotte Berg, very much. Lotte was a refugee and she never forgave herself for leaving her parents to die at a concentration camp in Poland. She locked a part of her life away and Arthur never had access to it. He didn't mind that part of her until one day Daniel Varsky came to their house and a couple of days later he left with his wife's beloved writing desk. Arthur started to wonder about Lotte's past and her secrets.

The final story is told by Izzy, a young American student who came to Oxford to study literature. She fell in love with Yoav Weisz, a male part of the siblings duo. He lived with his sister, Leah Weisz and under strict rules imposed by their father, George Weisz, an antiques dealer who specialized in retrieving the artifacts taken by the Nazis during the war. He will search for that writing desk through decades and it will always elude him at the last minute.

The stories told in the "Great House" are devoid of any humor, they are serious in its core, they make us feel small and unimportant under that much weight of life.

The writing desk is a symbol of life itself. It holds together his owner's life and shatters it when he leaves. The best example is Nadia, who flourished as a writer writing seven novels while she had her beloved desk. Once she gave it away, and she didn't do it because she wanted to but because she thought that was her only choice, her life crumbled. She couldn't write or organize her life. She even tried to retrieve it only to find that it never went to Jerusalem.

The stories start seemingly unconnected but through bits and pieces they start to intertwine and complete one another. The stories connect the owners through almost half a century and through three continents.

It is amazing how everything seems to fall in place when we finish the novel. But for me, this novel lacks a goal. I mean, I understand what the author is trying to tell us but the stories are very dreary and long and they have so much unimportant details that I really wished for some purpose to them. I was sorely disappointed in the end when I realized that this is it. It felt like the author abruptly ended the book because she had no more time to work on it.

I think that these kind of books are just not my cup of tea. All those dreary stories filled with sorrow, regret and how they can't seem to lead a normal life from the weight of the past was just too much for me. I like some real action, some purpose to them, some kind of revelation or twist. We all have some difficult pasts and I don't need "a writing desk" to complete me in some way. Anyway, this is a good novel for certain kind of people. Not me.

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