When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit. — The History of Love
This is exactly how The History of Love begins. And this is exactly the line that drew me in.
I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled across this book, I think it was during the time I was working for Barnes & Noble Books, one of my duties was to read the advanced copy books and work with publishers to talk about specific marking strategies within the store. So maybe I met Leo there.
Or perhaps it was another treasure my sister gave me as she was cleaning out her bookshelves. However the reason I stumbled across this book, I am so glad that I did. This book is one that truly did alter me…I wasn’t the same after I read it.
I guess the biggest lesson it taught me was the danger of holding on so desperately to the past. I could go on and on about this book, but I am afraid that I might spoil it for you. So I will leave you with my highest recommendation and brief synopsis by amazon books, where you can also get your copy today. Author Nicole Krauss has a rare talent for telling human stories and I am a big fan of hers!
Stay Encourage & Be Blessed!
Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss’s watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book.
The History of Love spans of period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At the center of each main character’s psyche is the issue of loneliness, and the need to fill a void left empty by lost love. Leo Gursky is a retired locksmith who immigrates to New York after escaping SS officers in his native Poland, only to spend the last stage of his life terrified that no one will notice when he dies. (“I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I’m out, I’ll buy a juice even though I’m not thirsty.”) Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer vacillates between wanting to memorialize her dead father and finding a way to lift her mother’s veil of depression. At the same time, she’s trying to save her brother Bird, who is convinced he may be the Messiah, from becoming a 10-year-old social pariah. As the connection between Leo and Alma is slowly unmasked, the desperation, along with the potential for salvation, of this unique pair is also revealed.
The poetry of her prose, along with an uncanny ability to embody two completely original characters, is what makes Krauss an expert at her craft. But in the end, it’s the absolute belief in the uninteruption of love that makes this novel a pleasure, and a wonder to behold. –Gisele Toueg