The idea of this blog is to facilitate the love of reading by collecting news about new books, or sometimes good old books. It is also dedicated to stamping out the scourge of e-books, Kindles, Kobo's, i-Pads, and all other such abominations.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

History of Love by Nicole Kraus

The plot of The History of Love is so complex that it is difficult to do a summary that does it justice. If you decide to read it and I hope you do, I suspect you will feel compelled to re-read it.

Leo Gursky, now in his 80's, arrived in New York from Poland after World War II. He feels so invisible that when he goes out he creates disturbances just to assure himself he is alive. Leo has lost three things in his life: the woman he has always loved, the son who doesn't know that Leo is his father, and the novel he wrote as a young man entitled The History of Love. He has no idea that this book has been published in Chile under another person's name.

Charlotte translated The History of Love for an South American contact. She named her daughter Alma after the heroine in this book. Teen-aged Alma, while trying to cope with her
unstable brother and her widowed mother, is determined to find the story behind her name.
Leo and Alma find one another and Leo finds his book is not lost.

You can see what I mean about a complicated plot and there's more. Kraus's characters are eccentric. She brings the stories of each together brilliantly, exploring love and loss in each of their lives. She explores the power of imagination to provide for loss.

History of Love is available in paperback


Anonymous Raincoaster said...

Wow Thora, do you realize you've written about two books in a row that are named after other books? Very subtle. What is the deep meaning? Perhaps that one is rather bookish? One of humanity's most forgiveable indulgences.You would never guess whatI'm reading The Forsyte Freaking Saga. As you know I only read audio books and sometimes the selection gets a little thin. I've been avoiding this one for years because I thought it was stodgily British but in fact it is about making fun of being stodgily British.I think I migh be able to get into it. Seems this stodgy Brit family is headed for a big scandal. But old Galsworthy himself ispretty entertaining, he's got quite a barbed wit. Better than I thought. Before that I read, finally, a book by our own Bill Gaston. That guy is fabulous! It was one of his short story books--Mount Appetite. Every story in it is a little gem. I remember whne Bill was a student and he used to send me stories for Raincoast Chronicles and I dreaded getting them because they were all student exercises and I thought, Creative Writing schools, harrumpf! That introduction has kept me away from him for too long, but man, has this guy ever developed into a classy writer. You can still see a bit of the formal schooling there in that he approaches every story with great deliberation and develops its themes with very deliberate and I might say detached method. He reminds me of William Trevor or Frank O'Connor in the way he controls the story, he doesn't let it carry him away in a so many, even though I can't think of an example. Anyway, Bill makes you very conscious of craft. I have a copy of Sointula, his novel around and may try that next. But I'd pick upanother book of his stories in a minute.

8:41 AM  

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