[Review] The History of Love - Nicole Krauss

Title of Book: The History of Love
Author: Nicole Krauss
Publisher: Norton
Publication Year: 2006
Language: English
Format: paperback
Pages: 255

Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer is trying to find a cure for her mother's loneliness. Believing she might discover it in an old book her mother is lovingly translating, she sets out in search of its author. Across New York an old man called Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer. He spends his days dreaming of the lost love who, sixty years ago in Poland, inspired him to write a book. And although he doesn't know it yet, that book also survived: crossing oceans and generations, and changing lives...


I don’t think I can sum up The History of Love good enough. Basically, it is a story about an old man named Leo Gursky, who survived the holocaust and traveled from Poland to America after World War II, and Alma Singer, a 14-year-old girl who lost her father to cancer. These are two unlikely people, but their lives are connected by a book called The History of Love. The book was written by Gursky years ago after inspired by a girl he loves named Alma. Alma’s character in the book is also the one who inspired the 14-year-old Alma’s parents to give her that name.
To describe the plot of this book in a neat and linear timeline is difficult, because it goes back and forth in time. As we read the book then we can finally piece together the story and get the whole picture. It is also told from several perspectives, Alma’s, Gursky’s, and the alleged writer of The History of Love, Zvi Litvinoff. I know it sounds a bit confusing but you’ll understand what I meant by the alleged writer when you read the book. The multi-perspectives might intimidate some people, but if you look carefully on the chapter’s title there’s a little icon/symbol which tells us whose voice that we’re going to read.
The pacing of this book is not slow, but to me, The History of Love is the kind of book that I want to read slowly and just enjoy the whole reading experience. It has nostalgic tone which I believe is because of the narrative style of the book. It is told like it is a stream of consciousness, so the characters are often having flashbacks, like they are having a reminiscence of their past, while they are telling their story. 
This book also has a bit of somber tone because it revolves around loneliness. After Alma’s father died, her mother is haunted by his ghost (metaphorically speaking) and cannot seem to move on which actually cause Alma to start searching the Alma from the book. She thinks that her mother is engulfed in loneliness after her father died. Gursky is also the victim of loneliness. He lost his family in the Holocaust and he also lost his love when he found out that his Alma married another man after she moved to America.
I fell in love with the characters of this book. I think Gursky is a sweet person. He loves Alma deeply and when he said he couldn’t love another woman, he is genuine. I think he’s a good person with an unfortunate life. He’s too hard on himself for feeling guilty that he survived the Holocaust instead of his family. It’s sad. Meanwhile, Alma is a quirky girl. I don’t know why but I feel I could relate to her. She’s strong-willed, a bit lost, but has good intent. I enjoyed following their journey throughout the book.
Overall, I like this book. The idea of one mundane item connecting people from different generations and different places sounds enticing to me. In fact, I might reread this book one day. If you like that kind of stories, I highly recommend this book. 

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