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"In a very real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to lead; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. "

— S.I. Hayakawa

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Love, loss, and memory

The history of love

Title: The history of love
By: Nicole Krauss

This is a beautiful story about love, loss, and memory. The first narrator (and central character), Leo Gursky, is an old Jewish man in New York who is recalling his youth in Poland and his life as a writer. Leo is wonderful: funny, cantankerous and imaginative. He is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. The story is told by at least four different narrators, including Alma, a teenage girl whose mother is translating her favorite book, The History of Love, from Spanish into English. There is also a neutral, third-person narrator. I found this confusing, as all the other narrators are characters in the book. Although the transitions between the narrators are clearly marked, I spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out who the neutral narrator was, only to realize that it wasn’t a person at all. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this poignant, complex tale and the gradual revelation of the mystery at its heart. Leo Gursky survived the Holocaust, but lost his family, his friends, and his manuscripts. He believed that all were gone forever--but were they? There is an excellent audio recording of this book, with multiple narrators.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction

Posted by Logophile on Feb. 24, 2014 at 2:44 p.m.


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