Book Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss


General Fiction > Historical Fiction > Romance

Leo Gursky is trying to survive a little bit longer, tapping his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he’s still alive, drawing attention to himself at the milk counter at Starbucks. But life wasn’t always like this: sixty years ago, in the Polish village where he was born, Leo fell in love and wrote a book. And although he doesn’t know it, that book also survived: it crossed oceans and generations, and changed lives.

Fourteen-year-old Alma was named after a character in that book. She has her hands full keeping track of her little brother Bird (who thinks he might be the Messiah) and taking copious notes in her book, How to Survive in the Wild Volume Three. But when a mysterious letter arrives in the mail she undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family.

Literary Awards: Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2006), Edward Lewis Wallant Award (2005), Borders Original Voices Award for Fiction (2005), William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for Roman (2006)


Because, what was I supposed to say? I’ve waited my whole life for her? She was the opposite of death? And now I am still here, waiting?

Break my heart, why don’t you, Nicole Krauss.*sniffs*

When I started reading The History of Love, I was laughing. I was humored by Leo’s eccentricities. A few minutes later, I was quiet. I was gently wishing for the tears to go away. I must me mad, I thought. And it happened many times as my reading progressed. Smiling here, being bitter there. It was unimaginably heartbreaking.

There are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.

Leo Gursky was a lonely man, his only friend Bruno‘s existence was even questionable in his life. In his old age, he wants to be seen, because he doesn’t want to die alone. So he create scenes: in the coffee shop, in the streets. This old man’s greatest fear was to leave this world with someone not knowing. Or someone he loved not knowing.

Nothing makes me happier, and nothing makes me sadder… than you.

Leo’s life was hard. I was wary when I stifle a laugh while reading his POV, because I know I will have my heart broken soon after that. Loving someone was powerful. But loving someone even after hope is lost? It was magnificent. And Leo managed to thrive because of it.

Alma‘s POV was like a mirror to Leo’s. Here’s a girl who only wants for her mother to not be sad. While in search for her namesake, she found something worthwhile for her own. And the scene at the park where she met the author of The History of Love? It rendered me speechless. I was trying so hard to not cry. Oh, the triumph they both felt…!

Loneliness: there is no organ that can take it all.

I found The History of Love profound in many forms. But it’s take on the simplicity of love made me adore it so much. I thought I was brave when it comes to love. But Leo was braver. To literally have loved and lost, Leo gave me hope that even the saddest endings have the happiest memories.

This is the book I want to marry.


THE HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss


Published May 1st 2005 by Recorded Books

5/5 stars


12 thoughts on “Book Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

  1. Just browsed through this review because I don’t want to be spoiled in any form. Hee. But definitely pushing this up to my priority reads. By June, Leo Gursky, I will be reading about you. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013 | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

  3. Pingback: Elated: Best Reads of 2013 | reading is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

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