Sunday, January 23, 2011

The History of Love

Continuing with the Orange Prize challenge for the month of January, next up for my reading pleasure was Nicole Krauss' The History of Love. The author used innovative techniques to carry the reader through the storyline. First up was life shared by an older gentleman who left Europe before the height of WWII atrocities. Getting on in years without many friends, he goes to his local Starbucks so that at least someone would see and notice hin during the course of a day. Next up is a young girl of 15, who was named Alma, for a character in her deceased father's favorite book, The History of Love. With every page and narration by the two voices (interspersed by commentary from Alma's brother, Bird, who believes he might be a Messiah), another layer of a mysterious riddle unfolds.

It is difficult to write a synopsis without giving away the plot, similar to The Keep by Jennifer Egen. Suffice to say, that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and no doubt will read it again in the future because there are nuances I know that I missed during the first go round. Boris Kachka with the New York Magazine hits the nail on the head by describing this book as follows: "Emotionally wrenching yet intellectually rigorous, idea-driven but with indelible characters and true suspense." Despite the fact that we have all of our 2011 selections picked for reading group, I hope to bring this novel to the top of the list for 2012, as it would make for a thought provoking book club night.

I also read that her husband, writer Jonathan Safran Foer's novel Extremely Loud and Extremely Close, makes an excellent companion read next to The History of Love...of course, a sample has already been downloaded to my Kindle to check out the truth to the statement.

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