The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Reviewed by Renée Bosman, Government Information Librarian
This beautiful novel about love and loneliness centers around two richly-developed characters whose lives are intricately entwined, though they are unaware of their connection. Leopold Gursky is an elderly Holocaust refugee, a retired locksmith who spends the last stage of his life reminiscing about a lost love and fighting to erase the invisibility he assumed during years in hiding. Alma Singer is a 14-year-old girl who busies herself with attempts to assuage her widowed mother's loneliness and with a quest to find the woman after whom she was named and who she is convinced exists — a character in the novel The History of Love. Krauss skillfully weaves Alma's and Leo's stories with excerpts from the fictitious The History of Love and vignettes about its author. As the seemingly divergent plots unfold, one begins to realize that things are not as they appear to be. Who is the mysterious stranger whose offer of a large sum of money convinces Alma's mother to translate The History of Love? And who exactly is Leo Gursky? As the stories converge, the pace of this novel quickens, and its tender conclusion will leave you breathless.