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Monday, February 19, 2007

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day, which was one good reason but not the only one to hold someone's hand, and the next thing that happened was we kissed each other, and I found I knew how, and I felt happy and sad in equal parts, because I knew that I was falling in love, but it wasn't with him.

---From A History of Love, page 202.

For Christmas, my friend Shawna gave me A History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I am embarrassed to admit that it took me this long to read it. I was nervous, she had loved the book so much and I was worried that I wouldn't love it. I was wrong. It's hard to summarize what this book is really about, so here's the text from the back cover:

Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother's loneliness. Believing that she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of it's 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 . . . .

This does not begin to describe the book. It's very good. It's written so well, from the perspective of a half dozen people. The clues to how it will all end are evenly paced and well written. Nothing is given away too soon and nothing is left out. This isn't a light fluffy book, the parts that are the book within the book are completely different in style and tone from the rest of the book. It's so well thought out and written that I wish I had written it. I should not have worried, this book will end up on my personal best of 2007 list.


  1. I originally had this on my list for this year, but moved it to 2008 because of all the challenges.

    So many people rave about it--I may have to squeeze it in somewhere!

  2. I loved this too. Leo was such a sympathetic character. I think I'll have to re-read it soon.

  3. This and The Book Thief were my two favorite reads of 2006. I led a discussion of it for my f2f book group. Everyone hated it and couldn't believe I had read it before choosing it. So it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who liked it.

  4. I loved this book, I read it over a year ago and I was shocked the first time I heard people saying they didnt like it, I thought it was one of the best books I read last year.


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