Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But it wasn't always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book...Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of "extraordinary depth and beauty ...
Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But it wasn't always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book...Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. With virtuosic skill and soaring imaginative power, Nicole Krauss gradually draws these stories together toward a climax of "extraordinary depth and beauty" (Newsday).
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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.
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