Hi everyone, I have finished the History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and thought I would share my review of it with you. It’s a lot different from what I’m used to reading, which is contemporary or fantasy, but that’s what made this book unique. This book has received a lot of notoriety for being compelling and beautifully written, however though I did like it, I found it to be a little bit confusing at times and hard to follow due to the stark contrasts in each of the character’s writing styles, and how they intertwined together. However, by the conclusion I did feel a little bit less confused as the author brought the three separate storylines together, and illustrated to the reader how they all fit together.
Brief Summary –
Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother’s loneliness. Believing she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man called 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 is the Goodreads description which you can view on Goodreads here: The History of Love
The plot I have to say is good, it’s creative, and is basically a mystery. There were a lot of times that something happened, or something was revealed and I was surprised, which is one element that I really liked about this novel. I would even say that the plot focuses heavily on uncovering mysteries. The premise of a book about a book was also really intriguing, and a different approach to storytelling than seen in the vast variety of literature. The plot also was saturated with writers. Most of the characters were writers and authors, and often the construction of a novel goes behind the scenes instead of being brought to the forefront of the readers’ attention. I also liked the deeper themes that were introduced such as fear of being invisible, authenticity, and the contrast between humour and death.
The characters were also really well developed and thought out. It was interesting seeing the relationship that Nicole Krauss created amongst unlikely individuals such as Gursky and Alma – one an old man, the other a young teenaged girl.
Writing Style –
Many people have argued that the writing style has to be complex in order to tell such a complicated story, but I really wasn’t a fan of how Nicole Krauss actually wrote each individual character’s perspectives, This is the part that I think really confused me. However, I haven’t really read anything like this before, and maybe if I was exposed to this unique style of writing more, I would be able to follow it better.
Overall, I give this novel 3/5 stars, for having an interesting plotline but not always being the most easy to follow. I found myself re-reading some parts, and when I read a book, I don’t want to have to go back and re-read and spend too much time trying to figure out what’s happening.
**Sidenote ** I will be re-reading this entire novel another time, because I read most of it while recovering from a rather unpleasant and complicated wisdom tooth surgery (which I’m still recovering from), so that may have influenced my ability to fully understand and enjoy this novel.