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the history of love

The History of Love – summer reading: I chose to read the novel The History of Love written by Nicole Krauss. The book was published in 2005 and is mainly about – well, like the title indicates love. The novel is structured differently than usually seen; it is a novel inside a novel. At first this can be a little confusing, but then eventually when you get into it, it actually gives the book a nice twist. The main character, Leo Gursky, is introduced in the beginning of Krauss’ novel.

He is a Polish-Jewish man who experience two major crises in his life, he loss of the love of his life and the loss of his son (Leo never got to know him). Leo is a very lonely man who Just waits for his death, though does he not want to die being invisible. To get people to notice him, he therefore often drops his money on purpose, spills food on himself and goes to shops Just to try things on. Leo has been writing a novel, called The History of Love, which is mainly about the story of him and Alma (the love of his life). The book gets published, but not by Leo – by a man called

Zvi Litvinoff, he thought Leo was dead, so he took the credit for Leo’s book. Nicole Krauss makes a turning point around halfway through the novel, instead of Leo’s story – she draw a parallel story toa 15-year-old girl. Her name is also Alma (she was named after Alma, from Leo’s book), and she unlike Leo, has no problem about being visible. Alma’s father died when she was very young, and her mother never really got over it – therefore is she trying to find a new man for her mother. While Alma is searching for a new man for her mother, she comes to discover a lot about he women she was named after, Leo’s Alma.

The two parallel stories move closer to each other doing the book, and at last Alma and Leo meet. The ending in the book is debatable – Nicole Krauss does not actually say/write it, but I believe Leo ends up dying by a heart attack. At the end when Alma and Leo are meeting, Alma asks Leo if he ever loved a girl named Alma – he was not able to answer her, instead he tapped his fingers twice against her chest – Leo is at this time also in a bad condition, so I elieve that Nicole Krauss intention with the end, is that after meeting Alma, he dies so he can be with his Alma again.

I like the way Nicole Krauss chose to do this novel; it was a very different and fun way to tell a love story. Instead of the typically way of writing, I like that this was a novel inside a novel – and also that she draw the parallel stories. All in all I really liked this book, though did some problems take place during the reading – some places the story could get confusing. I give the novel out of six. the history of love By Maikenwaa

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