The History of Love – Nicole Krauss

The History of Love

I won this book in a competition – Thanks Ragdoll Books! (Make sure you check out her blog, it’s great!) When Jennifer at Ragdoll Books wrote that The History of Love was up there with her favourite books of the year – if not all time, I was very excited to get a copy! You can read her review here.

But was Nicole Krauss’ book up there with my favourite books? I’m afraid not. In fact, I found it a bit of a disappointment. I really hate it when I don’t get on with a book that other people absolutely love, especially when the recommendation comes from a trusted someone with good taste in books!

I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately, from almost the very start, The History of Love was not for me. Firstly, I couldn’t get on with any of the characters. Polish immigrant Leo Gursky, living a lonely existence in New York, seems at first to be a quirky character with an interesting story, but I soon got bored of him. Then there’s fourteen year old Alma Singer who has recently lost her father and is trying to find someone to make her mother happy again. Her chapters are written in first person and in the format of a long and tiresome list. This was bearable for a few pages, but I found it very hard to cope with for much longer.

Alma’s lists weren’t the only part of the writing style that I did not like. The whole book is constantly flitting between different points of view, diary entries, letters, excerpts from books, distant memories… It was just too much! The book did not flow, the different formats did not match and it felt as though the storylines were trying to lead to something magnificent and magical and powerful… but the end itself was rather flat and anticlimactic.

Why did this book make everyone cry? Why has this book had such a profound effect on most people that read it? I have no idea! But please feel free to stick up for The History of Love in the comments below, because I know it means a lot to many readers – and I do hate it when other people dislike the books I love.

Buy the book by clicking on the picture below and feel free to let me know how very wrong I am!

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6 thoughts on “The History of Love – Nicole Krauss

  1. Oh dear! Glad you gave it a go though, it is funny how sometimes books that others rave about just don’t do it for another reader. I’m a fan of an honest review though, and I can understand why you may not have liked it. It is pretty quirky, and sad – I think perhaps it just caught me at the right time in my reading. Hopefully my next recommendation will be more successful!

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  2. This has been on my shelf for a while and after reading this it will probably stay there…

    I felt this way about BEAUTIFUL RUINS for sure and I think I’ll feel the same way about A HUNDRED SUMMERS, which I’m reading now. It’s great to be as honest as possible when you review things! We readers appreciate it 🙂

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    • I try not to be too negative (unless I really feel like having a rant!) but I suppose we all have different tastes. I know that there are books out there that I love but other don’t get on with…

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  3. That happens to me sometimes… everyone is recommending a book and I seem to be the only one who doesn’t enjoy it. One example: The Da Vinci Code… (Did you read that?)
    I do appreciate your honest reviews!!

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