Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The History of Love - Nicole Krauss
I don’t know what to say about it, except that it moved me in a way one hopes to be moved each time he begins a book.

This sums up my experience with The History of Love rather well. 

There is so much to say about this book, and at the same time I can’t say it since it will spoil too much of the plot and beauty of it. That’s what it all comes down to for me with this, the beauty of it.The History of Love is a well written, clever plotted, and most of all, hauntingly beautiful. The plot moves slowly toward the reveal at the end, but yet, the writing and charters are so spot on it makes the read worth it. We’re introduced to Leo and Alma, two people unlikely to share anything. He’s a Jew, survivor of WWII, and now waiting for his death. He steps outside only to be seen, and his neighbor Bruno and himself have made it a point to see if the other’s still alive at the end of the day. Then we have Alma, a young girl overcoming the death of her father, her mother’s following depression, and her brother Bird. She’s intent on making her mother happy again, and she believes she can do so with a little help from a book and it’s creator.

The History of Love lets you see everyone’s struggles. While, as I said, it is slow, there’s so much beauty. In Leo’s case, a haunting beauty. In Alma’s, the beauty of youth and the wishing for better. The core of this novel, however, is a book. More precise, the book namned The History of Love. Each character has a connection to said book, which is basically what makes for the plot when they all use it to get somewhere. (I’m being vague here to not spoil anything.)

So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days you can hear their chorus rushing past.

The History of Love is also a bit of a travel through different times. From Leo’s youth and his love for this girl, Alma, to the present where our other Alma with her troubled family. It’s also about the time between this. As I said, the core of this novel is The History of Love, the connecting book. And it travels through times. From being written, published, and to being read. How everything is fused together is wonderful to see, and the ending is left open to a degree.

Since I can’t reveal more of the plot, I’ll just mention the writing. Which is absolutely stunning. Krauss has a way of giving each character a distinguished voice, easy to pick out from the others. It makes the shifting POV easy to follow, and much interesting to see everyone’s take on the story. Her prose is beautiful, making the reader feel every word. 

I’ll leave it at that. The History of Love is worth the read, and I highly recommend it, even if this was a somewhat vague review.