The History of Love (PDF)

Story is heart breaking in a way I m uite happy to be proven wrong though Sad as it may be the prose could take your breath away I discovered another work of art beautiful than that one sentence that lead me to it The History of Love is not really much of a history at all It s like a meditation on love or an xploration of love It s the story of a bunch of people who are not only searching for love but also searching for themselves and trying to find their places in the world Once the characters lives intertwine the nding introduces uestions of fate destiny and the things that connect us to ach other and to the universe More than that though the nding reaffirms the power of love no not the sappy 80 s song It sustains through the years and unites people across decades miles and circumstances In the nd Matadors even though it isn t the romance I was hoping to read I still came away feeling pretty darn good about love and love stories How is it thatven the people who have suffered the most from having fallen in love still remember it as the most precious thing in the universe How do the folks who have not yet Ms experienced it know it when they see it And what in the world would be in the pages of the actual history of love I don t think one volume would cut it The book unfortunately doesn t give simple answers but of course love is nothing if not complicated Original Comments Pre ReviewI would like to review this novel formally in the near future but to do so I ll have to flick through it and refresh my memoryMy reaction at the time was that it was one of the best novels I hadver readNicole Krauss understands people and love and feelings and she writes about them in a word perfect wayAs a reader I am prepared to go wherever she wants to take me I will trust her judgementI have recently watched a few of her videos and interviews on Youtube and she s also someone who I Goliath Gets Up enjoy listening to when she speaks about her craft and her choice of subject matterThis probably sounds very gushy and naive but I promise to write something consideredReview September 26 2011Warning about SpoilersI have tried to minimise and identify plot spoilersHowever this is anmotional response to the novel and might reveal significance that you might want to Take A Chance On Me enjoy by way of your own detectionI hope that my review doesn t spoil anything for you or if it does that you uickly forget itLives Lived and Measured by the Deli CounterNicole Krauss The History of Love is one of my favourite novels of all timeI read it once pre Good Reads and have just re read it so that I could review it And I will read it again OftenThat doesn t count the numerous times I have fingered through the book seeking out passages andxpressions and meanings and significances that stimulated or appealed to meIt s an A Malta Do 2 C exuisitely crafted tale of love loss longing hope defiance resilience and it has to be said delusionI love its Jewish wisdom and concern with the family I love its Yiddish rhythms andxpressions and humour and playfulness I love the window it offers into the millennia of Jewish culture and Ready Set Wreck Wreck It Ralph Giant Coloring Book Disney Wreck It Ralph enrichment of the worldWhen I open the pages of this book I feel like I am walking into the best delicatessen or pastry shop in the worldEverything is there on displayverything is on offer we can Damned eat in or take awayIt s all been made with consummate skill and affection it s designed to satiate our appetite tonrich our livesI look at it all knowing it will feed us it will sustain us it will revive our Samtale Ventar energy It s food for thought it s food for lifeI m sure it will help us live our own lives and tell our own tales it willuip Exphil Ii Tekster I Etikk each of us to tell our own History of LoveI am wearing my Second Avenue Deli t shirt as I think and type thisLegend The History of Love is written from four different perspectivesach of which is represented by a different symbol at the beginning of the chapterLeo Gursky a heartAlma Singer a compassOmniscient Narrator an open bookBird Alma s brother an arkOnce Upon a TimeOnce upon a time there was a Polish boy named Leo Gursky who loved a girl across the field named Alma Mereminski Her laughter was a uestion he wanted to spend his whole life answering He asked her to marry him when they were both still only ten He promised her he would never love another girl as long as he lived What if I die She asked Even then he said He carved AL in the bark of a tree and had someone take a photo of the two of them in front of that tree He writes three books for her all in their native Yiddish the last being The History of Love Book 1 this one was about Slonim Alma says she liked it better when I made things up Book 2 he made up verything for this one Alma says maybe I shouldn t make up verything because that made it hard to believe anything Book 3 The History of Love Leo

says i didn 
I didn write about real things and I didn t write about imaginary things I wrote about the only things I knew In July 1941 that boy who was now a man of 21 avoided murder by the German Einsatzgruppen because he was lying on his back in the woods thinking about the girl You could say it was his love for her that saved his life Alma s father had already saved her by sending her to AmericaUnbeknown to A Perfect Storm either of them Alma was pregnant with their son Isaac when she leftOblivious to the birth of his son Leo lives in hiding surrounded by Nazi atrocitiesLetters back and forth fail to reach their destinationHeven writes his own obituary when he is in the depths of illness and despairBy the time Leo finally Despertada escapes to New York himself five years later he has become an invisible man in the face of deathHe traces Alma only to learn that she has had their child and that believing he was dead she has married another manHe iscstatic that our sum had come to Arthur Allan Thomas The Inside Story eual a child ALIHe asks her once to come with me she can t and he does the hardest thing he sver done in his life he picked up his hat and walked awayHe has little involvement with Alma or Isaac after that Royal Assassin except as an occasional remote observerAnd yet He continues to love Alma though he now has another uest to determine whether Isaac who becomes a famous writer in his own rightver knew about his father and that he wrote The History of Love Once Upon Another TimelineOnce upon another time it is the year 2000 when Leo is 80 and believes he is approaching death a precocious 15 year old girl goes by the name Alma SingerHer mother Charlotte a literary translator who specialises in Spanish literature named her after Romancing The Devil every girl in a book Alma s father David gave her mother called The History of Love It is written in Spanish and the author is Zvi Litvinoff a friend of Leo s who after Leo left Polandscaped to Chile carrying with him the original Yiddish manuscript of The History of Love for safekeepingAlma s father died when she was sevenLike Leo Charlotte has continued to love him my mother never fell out of love with my father and has never felt the need or desire to love another manWhen Charlotte disposes of some of his possessions Alma rescues an old sweater and decides to wear it for the rest of her lifeShe manages to wear it for 42 days straightAlma is on her own uest to know her own father better to help her younger brother Bird to know him too to find a lover for her mother and to learn about her namesake in The History of Love In the midst of this assortment of delicacies Charlotte receives a letter asking her to translate The History of Love from Spanish to EnglishFamily PlotI have included the above plot details despite my normal reluctance to summarise plots in reviewsPlease don t construe any of the details as spoilers Most of them are revealed in the first forty pages only not necessarily in that orderAnd I have left out a lot of the back story so that I could set up this context that family is fundamental to the plot to The History of Love not to mention history itselfThe Paleontological DetectiveEvery crime needs its own detective and Old Farts every detective needs their own methodologyven a child detectiveNicole Krauss twice mentions the task of paleontologists Bird asked what a paleontologist was and Mom said that if he took a complete illustrated guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art shred it into a hundred pieces cast them into the wind from the museum s steps let a few weeks pass went back and scoured Fifth Avenue and Central Park for as many surviving scraps as he could find then tried to reconstruct the history of painting including schools styles genres and names of painters from his scraps that would be like a paleontologist The only difference is that paleontologists study fossils in order to figure out the origin and volution of life Every fourteen year old should know something about where she comes from my mother said It wouldn t do to go around without the faintest clue of how it all began Here the historical uest the puzzle depends on your perspective And there are two the young and the old the present and the past joining together to construct the futureFor Alma the young the puzzle is what happened before The History of Love found its way into her familyFor Leo the old it is what happened after he wrote The History of Love Both have to sit down sometimes patiently sometimes impatiently and work their own methodical way towards a solution of their own puzzleIn a way their problem is the same the problem of familyLeo loses a prospective wife and a son Charlotte loses a husband Alma loses a fatherThey have all lost the story of their family of their loveHere the novel is symbolic of the fate of the Jewish Family in the face of the Holocaust and the Jewish DiasporaThe Jewish Family has been dispersed all over the world family members have been separated the spine of their love and connections and cultures and books and stories has been severedTheir Book Has Been Shred Into has been shred into hundred pieces and cast into the windSomebody has to scour the world to find the surviving scraps piece it all together again and reconstruct their history and their cultureAnd it will take a paleontologist Or twoYou Can Only Lose What You Once HadLeo once had Alma He had a lover whom he loved and who loved himHe lost her but he kept his love alive just as he hoped that the object of his love was still alive she actually lived until 1995The novel is almost mythical or mythological in the way it tells this taleCharlotte tells young Alma The first woman may have been Eve but the first girl will always be Alma So Leo and Alma are almost posited against Adam and Eve as the first boy and girl the first to have mortal parents the first children who ver fell in love with ach other the first to create a new familyWithout the object of his love he wrote about itHe kept his love alive his love kept him aliveAs he wrote in his own obituary He was a great writer He fell in love It was his life And yet His life stalled when he lost the object of his loveHe ceased to live for any purpose other than the preservation of his loveHis love became a fabrication that substituted for and subsumed his lifeHe appears to be in two minds about thisOn the one hand what to life is there but love I thought we were fighting for something than her love he saidWhat is than her love I asked On the other hand he recognised that he needed his invention in order to survive that reality would have killed him What do I want to tell you The truth What is the truth That I mistook your mother for my life No Isaac I said The truth is the thing I invented so I could live And again his confrontation of the truth The truth is that she told me that she couldn t love me When she said goodbye she was saying goodbye forever And yet I made myself forget I don t know why I keep asking myself But I did And And now at the nd of my life I can barely tell the difference between what is real and what I believe Perhaps the truth is whatever works for you My Friend Bruno Leo constantly refers to his friend BrunoI have only one head but I am in two minds as to whether he is real or make believeHe might be a self generated survival toolHe is modelled on Bruno Schulz the Polish author of The Street of Crocodiles which is referred to a number of times in the novelHe died in 1942 and Leo Tropical Cuisine Cooking In Clare S Kitchen even mentions that he died in 1941 in the novelHe attempts suicide in the novel unsuccessfully so there might be a sense in which he is a darker twin of Leo who nevertheless manages to prolong his life in the same way Zvi Litvinoff manages to prolong his life by confiscating and caring for Leo s obituary when he seemed like he was about to dieHis role diminishes as Leombraces reality over the course of the novel And Yet And yet And yet These two words are so important to the novelThey xpress Leo s defiance his determination not to accept the hand dealt to him his determination to avoid and vade the L Homme Press evil and the crime and the misfortune around himIt is his imagination his ability to believe in somethinglse that allows him to achieve this I remember the time I first realised I could make myself see something that wasn t thereAnd then I turned the corner and saw it A huge The Essential Davidson elephant standing alone in the suare I knew I was imagining it And yet I wanted to believeSo I triedAnd I found I could He has to imagine a better world than the one he has inherited or the one that his world has becomeIt was his love thatnabled him to stop thinking and worrying about death to stop worrying about the inevitability of his fateTo this xtent love is what keeps us alive it is our heartbeat it is the reason our heart beats ven if occasionally it causes our heart to skip a beatLove is the defiance of deathIt s not just something we do while waiting to die it s something that keeps us aliveIt keeps individuals alive it keeps families alive it keeps cultures alive and it keeps communities alivePutting Your Legacy into WordsThe great tragedy within Leo s life after Alma is that he believes his greatest creation The History of Love has been lostIn fact it has been misappropriated albeit without ill willAgain I don t mean this to be a spoiler We the readers already know that it must xist in some form if Alma s family can read it and Charlotte can be asked to translate it from Spanish to EnglishObviously part of the resolution of the puzzle for Leo must be the recovery of his legacyIt is one of the things that will bond him with the family he had but wasn t really able to haveThe other thing we find out at the beginnin. Sets out in search of its authorAcross New York an old man called Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer He spends his days daydreaming of the lost love ,

Leo is the obvious charmer of this novel an lderly man who A Night Like This escapes the Nazis as a boy andventually follows the love of his life to America where he discovers she has married someone Exodus else Leo holds the torch for Alma throughout his long life He has also written a novel The History of Love the manuscript of which hentrusted to a friend and believes forever lost His novel is the holy spirit of this novel Every character is profoundly affected by it Leo didn t uite charm me as much as Krauss wanted I found some of the humour too slapstick It was Alma who won me over Alma is the second narrator She is named after the heroine of Leo s book which her father loved Except the book isn t credited as being authored by Leo and it was published in Chile in Spanish The first mystery in a succession surrounding this book Her father is dead when the narrative begins Alma is a brilliant humorous portrait of an adolescent girl who has lost her father and is dealing with a grief stricken mother and a traumatised younger brother Her mother is a translator and is Hazan Family Favorites Beloved Italian Recipes From The Hazan Family excited when she is commissioned to translate The History of Love into English All the characters live obsessively in the past It s a novel about lostdens about coming to terms with the present when the past is inspiring magical But because of its humour and vitality Krauss does a fabulous job of making the present a constant cause for celebration It s one of those novels that despite its fabulous labyrinthine structure and fresh lively prose relies very heavily on its charm It s up there with A Gentleman in Moscow as the most charming novel I ve Revival Prologue ever read Krauss probably overeggs the mystery within a mystery or book within a book motifspecially towards the Damon end when she drafts in Alma s brother to contribute some barmy detective work But ultimately a lovely heartwarming novel written with fizzing joie de vivre about the joys sorrows and compensations of love One of the most beautiful and saddestxperimental love stories I ve Ange Et Demon ever read I ve had this novel on my TBR since January 2014 a very long time The main reason it stayed there was the author sx husband Jonathan Safran Foer I did not Darth Maul Shadow Conspiracy enjoy his book Everything is Illuminated and I wrongly presumed that I will not like History of Loveither A stupid idea I know but from the description it felt similar Both are Jewish authors writing a book with multiple plot lines and the blurb also reminded me of Foer s strangeness Glad I finally got the courage to read this beauty I have no idea how to review this book I also have no time at all to think so again it will be a short one There are a two main narrative voices and two On The Death Of A Parent episodic one Leo Gurski my favourite character is an old sad man of Polish origin living in NY He once loved a woman named Alma and wrote a book about her which was lost in the war Or was it Alma is a little girl who lost her father to a disease and her mother to grief still alive but barely She is desperately trying to make her mother feel better One day the mother receives a reuest to translate in English her favourite book which was a gift from her dead husband and which gave Alma her name As you might have already figured out there is a connection between the two characters namely the book called The History of Love I loved the structure of the novel the multiple plot lines the characters the snippets from History of Love inserted in the novel The characters live in the past back when there was no loss which makes them incapable to also live in the present I think the name History is well chosen taking that in consideration History of loss may be anven better title as another reviewer wrote That s all my sleep deprived brain can come up with Read this novel is beautiful I tend to be an Soteria emotional reader and my ratings reflect that I finish books filled withxcitement or sadness or intense dislike and write ually passionate reviewsrants often including snazzy gifs to make my point This is why some classics get 1 star and JK Rowling gets 5 stars and ven Twilight gets 2 stars I feel it s almost impossible to objectively judge uality of writing and literary value so I usually rate based on the motional ffect the book had on me That being said I occasionally think there are some books that are just built on a clever concept and become better the you sit and think about what you ve just readIn my opinion The History of Love is one of those booksFor one thing this novel is something of a work of art The graphic design The House Of Hands Becoming Catamite even of the dedications page feels important to the novel without seeming overly gimmicky I ve actually always loved the concept of a book within a book when a book which forms part of the plot also ties in with the physical book in your hands orbook perhaps In this case the story features a book ntitled you guessed it
the history of 
History of which carries an obituary at the nd identical to the one at the nd of this book The real message behind the story is that by writing about things and stories people who are dead and xperiences that are long past are given the opportunity to live on through words The fictional The History of Love in the story stays alive across time and continents because people read it and keep the memories alive The implication with the Etter Dansen ending of this book is that Krauss is doing the same andncouraging readers to keep Leo and his story aliveAnother thing I love is having very different stories that run parallel to one another and intersect in ways you wouldn t imagine I like the Redemption Day exploration of how small subtle things can shape people s lives and how one unsuccessful author can have such a hugeffect on the life of someone they never met I guess in some ways it did make me feel uite Masters Of Mayhem The 1965 Mystery Writers Of America Anthology emotional but it took some thinking about firstI found Leo Gursky to bexactly the kind of character who The Host evokes sympathy from me butspecially within this kind of context We are introduced to him as an aging and The Methuselah Strain extremely lonely man who is preoccupied with his own mortality and impending death Once upon a time Leo lived in Poland fell in love with a woman called Alma and wrote her a book he called The History of Love which he believes was lost in a flood But with fascism on the rise in Germany however Alma s father sends her to the United States where she builds a new life that Leo isn t a part ofWhen Leo finally makes it to the USA he has no place in Alma s life and must forge a new lonelyxistence in a strange country Meanwhile another story is taking place somewhere completely different A teenage girl called Alma was named after the character in The History of Love her parents favourite book that was in fact published and she is currently trying to deal with the death of her father In yet another parallel story Zvi Litvinoff is the man who stole and published Leo s manuscript and now feels a terrible guilt for doing so All these lives move alongside one another rarely actually touching but making waves for the others all the sameFor me the real message here is about the power of words and stories How they can shape lives and have long term De Verloren Verhalen effects that most of us don t recognise as they re affecting us It s about the power that lies in being able to tell your story and having it be heard It took me a while to compile my thoughts but I highly recommend this book for those looking for a thought provoking little readBlog Leafmarks Facebook Twitter Instagram Tumblr One of the last books I read in 2017 was Virginia Woolf s A Room of One Own In this series ofssays Woolf maintains that if a woman has a room of her own in which to write then she is than capable of producing the same if not greater works than men While pondering my 2018 classics bingo and what book to use as a free suare my thoughts turned to Nicole Krauss I finally discovered Krauss last year having read both Great House and Forest Dark The prose in both novels was superb leading literary critics to dub Krauss as one of the greatest Jewish writers since Kafka Krauss has a desk of her own in which to write discussing it at length in Great House I decided it would be appropriate to use my bingo free suare for her History of Love another of her novels that weaves together multiple plot lines in Kafka like fashion Leopold Gursky is approaching the age of his death As he nears his final hour he can not help but reminisce about his childhood home in Slonim near Minsk and his boyhood friends Bruno Schulz real life author of Streets of Crocodiles and Zvi Litvinoff All three men decided upon careers in writing in their youth before the Nazis invaded Poland and shattered their dreams Before Jewish life in Slonim Theater Of Pain ended young Leopold Gursky fell in love with Alma Mereminski With a name meaning soul and a body strikingly beautiful Gursky decided at age ten that Mereminski would be the one true love of his lifeven carving their initials into a special tree The young lovebirds knew that their love was something special however the Nazis posed an The Lieutenant S Whistle even greater threat and the Mereminski family fled to New York in 1941 not before Alma became pregnant with Leo s child something neither was aware of Hiding in the forest for the duration of the war Leo reached New York years later and learned about his son sxistence Named Isaac after a great Jewish Russian writer the boy would go on to become a prolific writer in his own right yet pain Leo for the rest of his life Prior to going into hiding Leo had written a manuscript that was close to his heart Flux entitled The History of Love Hentrusted Zvi Litvinoff with this book for safekeeping knowing that Litvinoff was fortunate nough to Be Leaving For The Safety leaving for the safety Chile Little did Gursky know that years later Litvinoff would change the language from Yiddish to Spanish and pass off this louent book as his own Years later fourteen year old Alma Singer named for the protagonist in History of Love stumbles across a letter from one Jacob Marcus who is asking Alma s mother Charlotte to translate the book from Spanish to English The Singer family has been grieving over the death of their husbandfather Daniel for the last seven years and Alma believes that translating this book would make her mother happy again As she discovers discarded translations make her mother happy again As she discovers discarded translations the trash Alma undergoes a personal uest to discover who her namesake was and why this protagonist named Alma profoundly moved her father to gift his copy of The History of Love to her mother In this process of self discovery Alma unearths many answers as well as uestions about both her father her namesake and their past In true Krauss fashion she weaves together these three plot lines without Little Boy Dead either protagonist knowing ofach other s The Bad Guys Issue 3 existence Gursky lives inside his memories hoping for one chance meeting with his son who has know idea who his real father is Alma is also searching for Alma Mereminski or someone who can provide clues as to who she was Encouraged by her uncle to stop constantly grieving for her father she is urged to step outside of her comfort zone of writing and books As she matures Alma learns clues about the History of Love her father and herself Meanwhile Krauss intersperses the sections about Gursky and Singer with the story of Litvinoff s life in Chile and how History of Love came to be All three stories are moving andventually come to a nexus toward the novel s denouement As with Nicole Krauss two other novels that I have read in History of Love I Balancing Act The Authorized Biography Of Angela Lansbury experienced mature literary fiction which had a profound impact on me I think I was moved the most by this novel because I have a daughter named Alma and I was touched by the protagonist Alma s capacity to love amidst her grieving This added personal twist seems to be a page out of Krauss mature style of writing that I have come to love and look forward to She has certainly done well given a room of her own in which to write and has become a leading contemporary literary fiction author Having caught up with her novels I happily anticipate the day she publishes her next novel whenever that may be 5 stars Nicole Krauss is married to Jonathan Safran Foer They both live in Park Slope Brooklyn and they both write clever critically acclaimed novels featuring preciously innocent narrators magical realism and some safe postmodernxperiments blank pages pictures Dear Bob excessive repetitiontc that you d notice just by flipping through I loved Foer s Everything is Illuminated liked his Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close okay and liked Krauss s History of Love a little less I m wondering now if my appreciation for Everything is Illuminated and my waning appreciation for the other two books is due to the fact that I read it first I hope notHere there are three narrators Leo Gursky a Holocaust survivor and sometimes writer living alone in New York waiting to die 14 year old Alma Singer a precocious girl who has to deal not only with her father s death but with her mother s subseuent depression as well and a third person omniscent narrator who relates the story of a little known book called wait for it The History of Love It goes without saying that these characters are connected in ways they don t understand hint by the mysterious book and that somehow this connection once made will help Guerra Santa O Lucha Poltica Entrevistas Y Debate Sobre El Islam Spanish Edition everyone involved That s all fine Things however don t come together as well as they should at thend despite some beautiful writing and the book that lies at the core of this story the book that has lived on for generations changing lives along the way is really just an annoyingly simple allegory about the genesis of love and other feelings Krauss has obvious talent but it isn t Fangliner enough to corral this messy pastiche of a novel I try to make a point of being seen Sometimes when I m out I ll buy a juiceven though I m not thirsty If a store is crowded I ll The Matrix Of Evil even go so far as dropping my change all over the floor the nickels and dimes skidding invery direction Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a uestion he wanted to spend his whole life answering I found this uote from a listicle please don t judge me of 50 of the most beautiful sentences in literature This one particular sentence left me with a heaping serving of the feels and so without a second thought I chucked the book I was reading at that time and started reading The History of Love A few chapters later I realized that this was not the sappy romantic book I was hoping for The. 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.

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G of the novel is that Leo has had a heart attack that has killed one uarter of his heartThis reinvigorates his fear of death and the concern that he might die an invisible man survived only by an apartment full of shit And yet it also reinvigorates his creativity which had stalled as wellWithin months he starts to write again 57 years after he had previously stopped possibly when he had finished The History of Love and had become an invisible man during the WarWhat he writes Queen Of The Suburbs ends up being 301 pages long it s not nothing It s his memoir starting off once upon a time in the manner of a fable or a fairy tale which he almost calls Laughing and Crying and Writing and Waiting butnds up naming Words for Everything It s a polite but defiant retort to Alma s childhood challenge When will you learn that there isn t a word for Occupy Me A French Affair everything Maybe there isn t a word forverything but as The History of Love itself illustrates in the hands of the right person it is possible to say Shadows In The Window everything in wordsLeo sends the novel off to the address he finds for Isaac in the hope that he will read it only to read soon after that his only child has died view spoilerAnd yetwhat Leo accomplishes over the course of the novel is the knowledge that his son had learned the truth of their family by reading Words for Everything and that the true authorship of The History of Love had finally become knownHis legacy has become concrete and he can die content hide spoiler The great tragedy of life is this then our friends are not allowed to finish their stories My second reading of this book bore out my feeling the first time I read it The first two hundred pages are a stunningly beautiful and moving account of love and loss and the stories hidden within stories and then of a sudden it s as if Krauss handed the novel over to her distinctly less talented husband to finish off the book She ruins it with the fourth of her narrators thentirely preposterous whimsy of Bird who is a kind of identikit of Foer s L Frank Baum Wonderful Creator Of Oz eually irritating cutesy cutesy little boy narrator in Extremely Loud Bird is a mistake and the attempt to add still madcap tomfoolery and another search for a missing person a person who doesn txist is just daft Bird as a character is a joke that simply isn t funny And to make another mystery of a mystery to create another story with the honeycomb of stories backfires horribly so late in the novel I don t think I ve Darkness Comes ever read a novel that punctures so catastrophically towards thend and has left me feeling so angry and cheated I d forgotten how beautiful most of this novel is How poignantly and succinctly Krauss conveys the childhood love of two Jewish children before the Nazis arrive How magically she recreates Leo s memory And how alive and full of the heart is the old man recollecting himself as a boy in the narrative Leo is a brilliant and heartwarming depiction of old age just as Alma is a fabulous Ti Vivr Accanto evocation of adolescence Krauss writes brilliantly about love in all of its forms She s got a marvellousye for Lucio Ah Le Stagioni Italiane Nella Musica Di Lucio Battisti epiphanies andvokes them with searing poetic simplicity And the multi layered form of the novel where three narrators are Blonde Blue each telling missing parts ofach other s stories is brilliantly achieved It also works great as a literary detective story Almost you have to keep a list of the clues as you re reading So absolutely brilliant until Krauss ultimate recourse to whimsy as if she and her husband were sharing some private joke and which comes very close to spoiling the poignant moving motional fabric of this novel I need to cut the crap with my preconceptions Although I almost unfailingly launch into a new novel with great nthusiasm like a kid on Christmas morning anxious to discover what hidden treasure awaits for some reason I held out little hope for Mrs Foer s book about a book about love Maybe it s because books about books about love aren t usually my thing Maybe it s because I read her husband s bestseller last year and was less than impressed Maybe it s because I had heard somewhere that they wrote their books together oh how a dorable bouncing ideas off one another and giving En Rabarberdreng Vokser Op each other high fives so naturally I assumed that if Mr Foer s book was gimmicky which it is then The History of Love would surely be a majorye roller as well ri He was a great writer He fell in love It was his life The Simplest uestions Are the Hardest to Answer 1 What is love2 Who am I3 Is there a word for verything4 What sort of book is this5 What is a palaeontologist5 What is a Palaeontologist If he took a complete illustrated guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art shred it into a hundred pieces cast them into the wind from the museum s steps let a few weeks pass went back and scoured Fifth Avenue and Central Park for as many surviving scraps as he could find then tried to reconstruct the history of painting including schools styles genres and Names Of From His of from his that would be like being a palaeontologist This beautiful book is a similar cornucopia of fragments The narratives have different textures colours size shape weight mood and style They connect in often unexpected ways pieces may split run parallel then diverge or be reunited And yet The result is wondrous strange and deceptively simple4 What Sort of Book is This A kind of half light in which the reader can project his or her own imagination It is ostensibly about love but is at least "as much about surviving loss and postponing death It s also about identity And yet The book itself " much about surviving loss and postponing death It s also about identity And yet The book itself no single identity love stories investigative journal self help book memoir philosophical musings historical fiction bildungsroman uest survival manual teenage diary spiritual metaphorIt is like Newton s Third Law interpreted as poetic allegory Every force is counterbalanced by an ual and opposite force writing and reading truth and lies taking and giving youth and age future and past hope and despair hiding and being seen and ultimately life and death 3 Is There a Word for Everything When will you learn that there isn t a word for No Mercy Sgt Major Crane Novels everything a reader says to a writer Long ago sometimes people felt things and because there was no word for them they went unmentioned Trying to describe themotion of being moved must have been like trying to catch something invisible Years later the writer calls a book Words for Everything Many characters read and all the main characters write whether for publication or not one because an undescribed world was too lonely And yet The bigger issue is the things that cannot be said are not said or are lost in transit or translation whether by accident or design Silence Gaps Absence Loss 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 There are three main narrators but secondary sources paratexts often with unknown or misattributed authorship are key to the plot letters photos obituaries drawings and books that may be not unlike the truth Things are further muddied by mentions of real life people JL Borges for instance people who are real in Krauss book and are central to works of fiction within it and a couple of characters who may not be real Radosav Jutarnja Magla even in that fictional realm Where is truth2 Who Am II thought I knew who I was I don t need to investigate or assert the truth of my identity in any legalistic sense but like Alma S I m named after someone Unlike her I chose to claim my name for myself rather than learn about the one whose name I bearAnd yet Of all the labels I can ascribe myself many are in relation to others mother daughter wife friendven English British European I am not myself alone ven when it might feel like it I can claim membership of numerous collective identities Even as a reader I am connected to other readers as well as authors and their creationsSilence Gaps Absence Loss I lost the sound of laughter I lost a pair of shoes I lost the only woman I wanted to love I lost years I lost books I lost the house where I was born And I lost Isaac So who is to say that somewhere along the way I didn t also lose my mind The characters on these pages have variously lost lovers a parent a child their homeland their health their mission and acknowledgement of their authorship and some are concerned with xtinctions at a species wide level And yet Like Tennyson s Ulysses they continue To strive to seek to find and not to yieldSurvival may happen by accident but it usually continues by will While some focus on practical skills most concentrate on ways to The Cheap Retreat Workbook enhance and prolong life and thus delay death whether their own or someonelse sAnd yet Krauss offers no Deity easy answers orven any definite ones Just as there are many permutations to define who we are so there are many sometimes contradictory ways to The Van endure lossNotice and be noticed or hide to survive Keep things the same or changeverythingAcknowledge and remember or forget in order to liveTell people you love them or ask them to Love me less Look forward or look backDevelop rituals and superstitions or apply cold logic Sacrifice the world to to hold on to a certain feeling Fill the gaps with facts or fiction orLearn to appreciate the beauty found in absence the silence between notes of music the pauses of punctuation Where he saw a page of words his friend saw the field of hesitations black holes and possibilities between the words Where his friend saw dappled light the felicity of flight the sadness of gravity he saw the solid form of the common sparrow Image of leafbird by Ukranian architect Oleg Shuplyak This isn t a trite message about seeing the silver lining but about finding a different way to see to A Teacher Carol Burnt Out Teacher Rediscovers Her Spirit experience to live while acknowledging and appreciating who or what is missing He learned to live with the truth Not to accept it but to live with it 1 What is LoveI am fortunate that the tragedies in my life have been minor compared with thosexperienced by the characters here The cultural context and the smattering of Yiddish words are largely unfamiliar to me too And yet Krauss spoke to me from these pages to me of me and of others I tried to make sense of things It could be my pitaph Sometimes ven if I ve really Fated enjoyed a book I find myself thinking And yetNot with this Notven a little bitI guess that means it s perfect The Dom For His Alpha even if I can t adeuatelyxplain why nor answer this final uestion I am a reader Krauss is a writer I am in aweuotes Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a uestion he wanted to spend his whole life answering The boy became a man who became invisible In this way he The Midwife S Marriage Proposal escaped death At times I believed that the last page of my book and the last page of my life were one and the same The truth is a thing I invented so I could live All I want is not to die on a day when I went unseen The words of our childhood Yiddish became strangers to us Life demanded a new language The traffic lights bled into the puddles Life is a beauty and a joy forever Later Life is beautiful and a joke forever In the most important moment of his life he had chosen the wrong sentence What is not known about Zvi Litvitoff isndless These things were lost to oblivion like so much about so many who are born and die without anyone A Question Of Identity ever taking the time to write it all down Holding hands is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together Some were bought and read many were bought and not read some were given as gifts some sat fading in bookstore windows serving as landing docks for flies some were marked up with pencil and a good many were sent to the paper compactor where they were shredded to a pulp along with other unread or unwanted book their sentences parsed and minced in the machine s spinning blades A writer imagines books As a flock of homing pigeons that could flap their wings and return to him to report on how many tears shed how many laughs how many passages read aloud how many cruel closings of the cover after barely reading a page how many never opened at all Only now my son was gone did I realise how much I d been living for him I ve always arrived too late for my life I thought it would be strange to live in the world without her in it And yet I d gotten used to living with her memory a long time ago The door between the lives we could have led and the lives we had led had shut The grammar of my life wherever there appears a plural correct for the singular Notveryone stays in loveJM married young before we knew To Tell The Truth enough about disappointment and once we did we found we remindedach other of it Another says It s hard to imagine any kind of anything happiness or otherwise without her I ve lived with Frances so long She seemed to pull light and gravity to the place where she stood Perhaps this is what it means to be a father to teach your child to live without you If so no one was a greater father than I At the Mummo 2 end all that s left of you are your possessions Perhaps that s why I hoarded the world with the hope that when I died the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived To paint a leaf you have to sacrifice the whole landscape After my Uncle Julian left my mother became withdrawn or maybe a better word would be obscure as in faint unclear distant In another room my mother slept curled next to the warmth of a pile of books FOR MY GRANDPARENTS who taught me the opposite of disappearing and FOR JONATHAN my life Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her kiss was a uestion he wanted to spend his whole life answering Further NotesI have jotted down lists about the story characters and themes showing the many and complex connections HERE but it is not a review this one is and it s full of spoilersRereadRead in January 2016 and again in July 2016 This review was updated slightly and my further notesappendix one significantlyThe reread was a bit like watching The Sixth Sense for the second or subseuent time at least as good but utterly different The multi threaded plot is so cleverly woven and once you know the pattern you spot all the little threadsarly on In particular on first reading I didn t pay much attention to the irritating and self important little brother so his actual importance came as something of a shock Knowing the outcome meant I was interested in and sympathetic to him and ven appreciative of the book as a wholeImage sourcesA heart like the one used to represent Leo Gursky. Hat 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 live. The History of Love
 Le Vagabond Du Grand Nord

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