The History of Love

The History of Love

by Nicole Krauss


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A long-lost book reappears, mysteriously connecting an old man searching for his son and a girl seeking a cure for her widowed mother's loneliness.

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).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393328622
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 04/24/2006
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 42,808
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.54(h) x 0.64(d)

About the Author

Nicole Krauss has been hailed by the New York Times as "one of America’s most important novelists." She is the author of Man Walks Into a Room, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year; The History of Love, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Saroyan Prize for International Literature; Great House, a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award; and Forest Dark. In 2007 she was selected as one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists, and in 2010 she was chosen for the New Yorker’s ‘Twenty Under Forty’ list. Her fiction has been published in the New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. Nicole Krauss lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What People are Saying About This

Ali Smith

It restores your faith in fiction. It restores all sorts of faith.

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The History of Love 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 306 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the best novel I have read in decades, and I read a lot. I cried through the last 20 pages, and then immediately started reading it over again.
abaronessa More than 1 year ago
The book was so good I couldnt put it down. I enjoyed it very much. My 16 year old son also really liked this book. Finally a book about real values.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of LISTENING to this book on CD and i must say that the voices truly enhanced what i found to be a profoundly perfect book. i'm astounded that the author is a young woman she has such an 'old' voice. i did something i've NEVER done before: when i finished, i went right back to the beginning and started all over again. I wanted to pick up all the subtle nuances and almost wanted to do a flow-chart to keep track. what a beauty!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The History of Love was a book chosen by our book club to read and, one I don"t regret; however, it's not to say I would put this on my top 10 list. The book is broken up and intertwined into past and present and you are looking at several lives throughout the chapters only for them to come together at the end. The main character Leo Gursky has written a book (The History of Love) about his one and only love Alma only for it to have been stolen and published by a friend early on in his life. Leo and Alma were from a small town in Poland and prior to WWII reaching their town, a pregnant Alma and her family left for America leaving Leo to come to America a few years later only to find that she had moved on with her life. Leo spent the rest of his life dismal, thinking about death, and the son he never met or tried to meet. Through an odd mixture of events (that led me to reread several pages) a child named after the main character of The History of Love, Alma, and her brother helped Leo Gursky find life (now that he was in his eighties). I respect the writing and integrity of The History of Love-it makes for great discussion; however, I didn't have the same emotional feelings like so many did because I felt the novel was a little too fictionalized and some of the main characters weren't played out fully. There were points of humor throughout; however, the overall tone of the book was very melancholy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The History of Love, from the first sentence to the very last, is something so beautiful it is beyond words. I've cried, I've laughed, and I've never read a story quite like this. The novel is so different and so unique it defies description. Every word, every sentence, brings it to life.
yowen2010 More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book and I definetely recommend it. However, I didn't really understand the ending so much and left me with an incomplete and perplexed feeling...otherwise, great characters, interesting storyline and the best part for me was Leo's humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If it is ever possible to put emotions into words, which very few of us can do, reading this novel is like reading emotions, only Nicole Krauss found a way to include a narrative. Pure beauty exists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The poetry of each page took my breath away
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an absolute must read and has immidiately become one of my favorites. The writing is absolutely beautiful and captivating, and the story is compelling. This book will change your life.
BookClubReviewer More than 1 year ago
When you have to read a book twice and take notes just to understand what's going on - you know the plot is confusing. One of our book club members had to resort to this tactic and the others were just plain confused. Most of our discussion was centered around explanations of characters as we hopped from Nazi Poland to New York City to Chile in search of Leo Gursky's history. On the positive side the personalities of Leo, Alma and Bird were engaging and brought a sympathic response to their plights - Leo as he struggled to remain visible to the world - Alma and Bird as they grew and matured while living with their mother's consuming grief. Just trying to "keep it all straight" became the task rather than enjoying the characters and story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had so many confusing twists concerning "The History of Love" that I had to stop and think about how it was connecting. Finishing the book became more a chore than a pleasure, and if it were not for Leo, I probably would have put it back on the shelf unfinished. In ways it reminded me of a children's book that my daughters read decades ago, "Who's Got The Apple", which by the way was more enjoyable than this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really did not like this book. It just never came together for me. Several of my friends read it and loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is true that the book had its confusing moments, but if you were as captivated by the writing as I was, you will try to solve the puzzle before it is explained to you. The book had many characters and each one seemed to have something to relate to, even though they were extremely different people. All of my emotions were played with by the writing to the point where I saw that I had chills after reading the ending. The story was so good I couldn't wait for someone else to read it so I could talk about it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was so depressed by this story I promised I'd never use my free time to delve into something so gray and hopeless again. It was unncecessarily confusing. I wanted the characters to just get on with it and end their misery and my own. While poignant and humorous in places, it wasn't enough to save the book. I had to read this for a book club selection and I felt like I was being punished I see others' rave reviews on this book...oh well ... the story weighed me down. I give it a thumbs down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is in my top 10 favorite books of all time. I think Krauss in incredibly talented. I admit I had to stop and jot down notes to figure out who was where and when, then I understood in the end why I had been confused. I love the idea of an artist/writer creating something beautiful that moves people in ways he may never know.
miriamparker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh god. This is the best book I have read in a long, long time. It's just perfect. There is a book within a book and a great old man character who is just so sad and lonely and loveable. Amazing.
PrincessPaulina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
* NO Spoilers were used in the writing of this review! *An engaging, bitter-sweet novel. The plot ( involving several books and writers ) can get confusing at times, though a satisfying story rewards the persistent reader.Minor setbacks are the sometimes overly simple language, and a compulsive adherence to politically-correct Jewish themes ( even one of the chance clerks encountered by the Alma character goes off on a Jewish-American rant ). But the fresh take on senior issues and Russian immigrants makes up for these flaws.
novelcommentary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a well written tale that has a lot to do with how much a book can affect another life. Several storylines are told in alternating chapters and all come together in the end. There is Leo, a cranky 70 year old who escaped the Nazi's and once wrote a book for the girl he loved. In America he tries to make sure he is noticed everyday since it might be his last. Another narrator is a 15 year old girl whose was named Alma because that was the name of the girl in a book called the History of Love, a book her father loved and gave to her mother when they met. There is also Lvi, who was a friend of Leo's back in Poland and who translated the famous story. The novel takes some work to get to the mystery that remains at the core of Alma's quest, but the work is worth the story.
mjanetten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The History of Love just might be one of my favorite books of all times. I have not read it for quite some time but when I did read it I wrote down many of my favorite versus, phrases, and sayings. The way that Nicole Krauss writes is simply astounding. No one has ever quite worded things in such a way. I¿m not going to give a review on the book just now because it is not fresh in my memory. However, I will give my favorite quote from the book.¿Even now, all possible feelings do not yet exist. There are still those that lie beyond our capacity and our imagination. From time to time, when a piece of music no one has ever written, or a painting no one has ever painted, or something else impossible to predict, fathom, or yet describe takes place, a new feeling enters the world. And then for the millionth time in the history of feeling, the heart surges, and absorbs the impact.¿
alana_leigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh my. The History of Love is breathtakingly beautiful. Simple phrases would break my heart with their loveliness and the images that were evokes produced such sighs as I closed my eyes to savor them. Nicole Krauss (who's married to Jonathan Safran Foer) lives in my neighborhood and I'm pretty sure I've seen her around, but I kind of hope I don't run into her again, as I'd be compelled to babble something about her exquisite prose.Told from a variety of perspectives, The History of Love follows two particular people whose lives are deeply connected to a book with the same name. Leopold Gursky is the man who wrote that book for the girl he loves, naming every woman in the book after her. After surviving Nazi-occupied Poland, he moves to New York and is now an old man, reduced to deliberately causing scenes in public places (spilling things in Starbucks, haggling for change, etc.) so he will be noticed, desperate measures born out of his crippling fear that he will die alone and undiscovered in his apartment. Alma Singer is a fourteen year old girl in present day Brooklyn, whose name came from that book and whose mother is now translating it. Her father died a few years ago and her mother is still cocooned in her grief, whereas her younger brother, Bird, is convinced that he is a lamed vovnik and quite possibly the Messiah. Rich with the complications of life and the things that can be lost (and rediscovered) with time, Krauss expertly weaves in and out of these stories while still making sure that we are never lost. I was given this book as a gift for Christmas (2006?) but I never picked it up... now, this could be because the ingenious friend who gave it to me inserted it in a cleverly crafted "book purse"... aka a hardcover book with handles that had a space just large enough for this paperback carved into its pages. But when I remembered its existence inside, I read this in the space of two days. I don't know if I simply needed a lovely book and so that's why my reaction is so intense, but I clearly adored it. I devoured it, trying to slow down to savor everything, but alas. It's the first book in a long time that made me reach for a pen to underline phrases and mark passages for later reference. All I can say is that if you're a friend of mine who usually gets a birthday or Christmas present and you haven't read this... well... there will be no surprise in what you'll be getting this year.
vivaval on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This incredible book grabbed me even before I finished the first sentence. The character of Leo Gursky is unforgettable, and Krauss' writing is just beautiful. I didn't want this book to end.
stubbyfingers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I loved it. The writing is beautiful, but I think my favorite part is the characters. Every one of them is fully fleshed and real. The story is full of every day tragedies. When I was 75 pages into this somebody asked me how I liked it. I told him I was riveted. Then he asked what it is about. I told him I had no idea. It wasn't until about 160 pages in that the reader has enough pieces of the puzzle to figure out what the the plot truly is. And even now that I'm finished, I still find myself trying to decide what this book is truly about. As I was reading I didn't want it to end because I was afraid the ending would be a let down--it wasn't. This is great stuff.
janders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this is the best book i have read in a long time. everything about it is beautiful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to admit, I do not understand the appeal of this book. I tried really hard to like it because I thought I was missing something based on the amazing reviews it got. I hate giving up on a book but every time I try to read it I fall asleep after a few pages because IT IS SO BORING and has yet to progress. I eventually got so confused that I re-started the entire book and just haven't been able to get past the half-way point. I want to think that it gets better in the end but I just can't waste any more of my life trying to finish this book.  
jbsnyc More than 1 year ago
This book is beautifully written. I couldn't put it down.