It has been decades since Leo Gursky first surrendered his heart, then wrote a book about it, at the tender age of 10, and he's been in love with the same person ever since. Leo believes his book is lost to time, but what he doesn't know is, not only has it survived 60 years without him, it has also been an inspiration to others. Fourteen-year-old Alma was even named for a character from the book. When she realizes how deeply the story touched her lonely mother, she embarks on a search for answers.
The History of Love is an imaginative tale of love and loss that is at once funny, mysterious, and deeply passionate.
Don't miss Nicole Krauss and Salman Rushdie at The New Yorker Festival.
©2005 Nicole Krauss; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"An intriguing books-within-a-book narrative....Venturing into Paul Auster territory in her graceful inquiry into the interplay between life and literature, Krauss is winsome, funny, and affecting." (Booklist)
"Writing with tenderness about eccentric characters, [Krauss] 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." (Publishers Weekly)
"If for no other reason than the range of voices she has persuasively created, Ms. Krauss would stand out as a prodigious talent....Ms. Krauss's work is illuminated by the warmth and delicacy of her prose." (The New York Times)
This novel has several narrators and a number of inter-related stories. I was drawn to this book because the town of Slonim (Belarus) is one of my ancestral towns, and some of the characters similarly emmigrated to Chile and the U.S., just as in my family. The separate, inter-related stories and characters were intriguing. However, it was just a tad confusing at times to keep them all straight! Worth the effort, and the resolution was satisfying.
After looking at the reviews, I was expecting a wonderful listen. For the most part, the reader's reviews are on the money for me. To be honest, though, I had a miserable time trying to stick with it. The only time I tuned in without effort was when Leopold Gursky was narrating. I would have enjoyed the book greatly if it had remained in his narration. I forced myself to finish it to the end and then questioned my decision.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Like poetry for the mind is this narration of The History of Love, a walk through pre-WWII Poland when two children were carefree, discovering themselves and each other, pledging a lifetime of love for one another . . . and a girl named Alma that a ten year boy, Leo, loved so much that he wrote down his love for her, in a book, and in letters, that survived the Holocaust, a journey to America, The History of Love, buried and rediscovered, loved by another, translated, yet still Leo's book . . . Growing so old . . . Leo wonders, will today be the day that I die? . . . yet he still remembers his Alma . . . he's outlived them all . . . a blessing or a curse? . . . and another Alma, a young Alma, on a parallel journey, has lost her father, how is she connected to Leo's Alma? Only Love knows . . .
What an interesting story written in such a lovely way. This book is different and the unusual cast of characters (voices) keeps the story moving (although you are kept wondering about the connections sometimes--but it's supposed to be like that, right?). To define love in such beautiful terms is refreshing and not the usual "sappy" romance. Both genders would like this book and I thoroughly enjoyed her lovely writing. Worth a listen!
The book is told by several protagonists and each has its own narrator.
It is a combination of a cultural novel, a human interest story, and a mystery story.
No particular favorite. The book is written so beautifully that you can identify with each protagonist.
I would have, but it was too long. But I did feel compelled to listen to it over and over to get to the end.
I did not want it to end. And when it ended, I rewound it to favorite parts and listened again.
The ending. But I won't give that away. I also enjoyed the part where Leo comes back to his apartment to find his friend has baked him a cake and everywhere is covered in flour. On the floor, Leo sees where his elderly friend has laid down and made an angel in the flour. The image is sweet and funny.
The narrator for Leo was exceptional. He conveyed passion and humor and sadness so effectively. I rewound these parts several times, just to hear him tell them again.
Say something about yourself!
a masterpiece. i could talk about how great this story was but its at its best when you go right into it blindly.. moving.. in fact this most definitley needs a movie.
I never read or listen to a book twice, but I'm going to listen to this one again! It's rich, it's funny, and it's deep. The plot isn't a fast-moving one; rather it's about the depth of one's love and the existential question of how and why we love. There are 4 voices for the characters, and I found them all pleasant. I'd put this one up with Life of Pi and Bee Season as mature, philosphically pleasing and also a great read.
I confess that I wasn't riveted after I started listening, and set THOL aside for two years. Something pulled me back and I was again drawn into Leo Gursky's world, magnificently depicted by George Guidall. The various segments of the story can be confusing--connections aren't always clear--but are brilliantly tied together leading to a startling conclusion. Fabulous writing and colorful characters make this a beauty and a joy forever.
I'm so glad I didn't pay any attention to the poor reviews and followed the recommendations of the good ones. Funny, intelligent, literary, beautifully narrated.
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