In an increasingly digital age, many readers, including myself, find it convenient to consume literature on the go. I listen to about a book a week driving to and from work, and peruse many of my favorite publications on my iPhone. And while I love the ease of good audio book, there are some stories that were constructed to be physically held and visually read; The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is one of those books—though it’s technically two books, because it’s a novel within a novel.
Krauss uses creative structure and graphic design to signal changes in point of view and weave several strands of narration together in this interconnected mystery of love, loss, and rediscovery.
Leo Gurksy, the protagonist, is an elderly writer living alone in New York, convinced he is becoming invisible. Born in Poland, Leo lost everything in WII when he was separated from the love of his life, Alma, who was pregnant with their child. Before fleeing his homeland, he wrote her a book called The History of Love, which also disappeared during the war.
In a parallel story, Alma Singer, a 14-year-old girl named after a character in her parents’ favorite book, is struggling to cope with the loss of her father and save her mother from loneliness.
Krauss writes the incredible journey of how a stolen manuscript and undying love can bring so many people together. The strands of the story are given to the reader piece by piece, which culminate into an enchanting final moment.
The History of Love is the kind of book you savor and read over and over again for clues you may have missed the first time around.
Check out this stunning mystery at the Sioux City Public Library.