This book is short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006 and winner of the 2006 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, The History of Love explores the lasting power of the written word and the lasting power of love. Published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. 'When I was born my mother named me after every girl in a book my father gave ...
This book is short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006 and winner of the 2006 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, The History of Love explores the lasting power of the written word and the lasting power of love. Published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. 'When I was born my mother named me after every girl in a book my father gave her called The History of Love...' 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 love lost that 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..."Wonderfully affecting...brilliant, touching and remarkably poised." (Sunday Telegraph). "A tender tribute to human valiance. Who could be unmoved by a cast of characters whose daily battles are etched on out mind in such diamond-cut prose?" (Independent on Sunday). "Devastating...one of the most passionate vindications of the written word in recent fiction. It takes one's breath away." (Spectator). Nicole Krauss is an American best selling author who has received international critical acclaim for her first three novels: Great House (short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011), The History of Love and Man Walks into a Room (short-listed for the LA Times Book Award), all of which are available in Penguin paperback.
Krause is extraordinary! I'd read "Great House" first. This deserves attentive digestion for the full meal appreciation. She has a brilliant way with words, phrases, concepts....speaks well in many tongues. How she weaves the characters and situations together reminds me of Nabakov. This is a must read...but not if you only glide across.
Jun 18, 2010
Just read this recently and it's now one of my all-time favorites. I finished it, then immediately read it again--something I never do. It's simply breathtaking, from the plot, to the pacing, to the character development. The writing style is impeccable. It's a must read.
Oct 13, 2007
For all who love or wish to.
Alison Krauss has the rare ability to speak for the widest range of characters in the most convincing and deeply touching voice. I will never miss one of her books.
Apr 12, 2007
Good Book Using a Difficult Subject
"The History of Love" stars Leo Gursky, an elderly Polish gentleman who lives in New York, having escaped Poland just before the Nazi invasion. When he was a young man, he fell in love with a local girl and was inspired to write a novel entitled "The History of Love." Along side Leo's story is the story of a girl named Alma Singer, a young teenager who was named after the main character in a novel entitled "The History of Love." Slowly, Alma and Leo's stories begin to converge in an ending that is both cinematically sentimental and oddly moving.
I've always raised my eyebrows at fiction that centers around characters who survive a monumental tragedy. And by that I mean tragedy that is of an epic scale (9/11, the Holocaust, WWII, etc.). Usually an author can't help but overindulge in one cliche after another on the resilency of the human spirit, the nature of courage, the power of love, blah, blah, blah. I'm not saying survival of such a harrowing experience is a bad subject for a book. I just think the subject deserves better than the tripe that's out there. Still, I give praise for Krauss handling the topic pretty skillfully. There are moments when she does overplay the poignancy, but in general, her writing is concise enough and her story's structure straightforward enough, to keep the overall tale a nice read.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-21 The last words of this haunting novel resonate like a pealing bell. "He fell in love. It was his life." This is the unofficial obituary of octogenarian Leo Gursky, a character whose mordant wit, gallows humor and searching heart create an unforgettable portrait. Born in Poland and a WWII refugee in New York, Leo has become invisible to the world. When he leaves his tiny apartment, he deliberately draws attention to himself to be sure he exists. What's really missing in his life is the woman he has always loved, the son who doesn't know that Leo is his father, and his lost novel, called The History of Love, which, unbeknownst to Leo, was published years ago in Chile under a different man's name. Another family in New York has also been truncated by loss. Teenager Alma Singer, who was named after the heroine of The History of Love, is trying to ease the loneliness of her widowed mother, Charlotte. When a stranger asks Charlotte to translate The History of Love from Spanish for an exorbitant sum, the mysteries deepen. Krauss (Man Walks into a Room) ties these and other plot strands together with surprising twists and turns, chronicling the survival of the human spirit against all odds. Writing with tenderness about eccentric characters, she uses earthy humor to mask pain and to question the universe. Her distinctive voice is both plangent and wry, and her imagination encompasses many worlds. Agent, Bill Clegg at Burnes & Clegg. First serial to the New Yorker; BOMC, QPB and Reader's Subscription selections; author tour; film rights to Warner Brothers; audio rights to Recorded Books; foreign rights sold in 15 countries. (May 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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