This is one of the many books I borrowed from the Library of Dad (my dad has so many books!) and I picked it out because the title sounded intriguing and the reviews on the cover were all extremely positive. I could probably summarise my thoughts on The History of Love by Nicole Krauss by saying if you fancy something that has a lovely sentiment and romantic undertones but is actually really unusual and interesting, you should give this book a try.
It’s the slightly tragic story of aging Jewish immigrant Leo Gursky – an extremely interesting character who has a very lonely existence. He spends his days waiting for death to take him, whilst trying to attract attention to himself in public places so he doesn’t die on a day when he hasn’t been noticed by someone.
It’s also the story of Alma Singer, a fifteen year old girl who is trying to help her family to survive and be more “normal” after the death of her father.
And it’s the story of a book called “The History of Love” – one that hardly anyone has read but means so much to those who’ve experienced it. The book was written by Leo for the love of his life, and he has no idea anyone else has ever seen it. But it’s also the book that meant so much to Alma’s parents that she sees it as a way of helping her mother.
This was quite an unusual book for me, as not much actually happens in it. Even so I found it was very easy to read and time passed very quickly as I discovered more and more about the characters and their oddities and also about the book that seems to have the power to touch peoples’ lives. You get to read passages of “The History of Love”, which I found lovely as they capture Leo’s lost love and passion.
It’s very well written, and you build up a gradual picture of the two quirky and individual characters through them talking about random facts and thoughts – which is also quite amusing in some places. This is not a traditional love story at all, but it makes you think about love and loss, and it also made me ask my boyfriend “do you love me in a poetic way?” (he was confused at this haha). And I have to say I enjoyed reading it for what it was.