Book Review: ‘The History of Love’ by Nicole Krauss

3867Having had this book recommended to me by several people, I had very high hopes for it. I am pleased to report I was not disappointed. However, this is a book for which you need to keep all your wits about you. The following quote from the book nicely sums up its potential for confusion:

”The History of Love starts when Alma is ten, right?” I said. My mother looked up and nodded. “Well how old is she when it ends?” “It’s hard to say. There are so many Almas in the book.” “How old is the oldest?” “Not very. Maybe twenty.” “So the book ends when Alma is only twenty?” “In a way. But it’s more complicated than that. She isn’t even mentioned in some chapters. And the whole sense of time and history in the book is very loose.”

Having realised not far into the novel that it was going to keep me on my toes, I slowed down and tried to digest every word so I didn’t get lost. This may sound like hard work, but the effort was well worth it; by the end I was in floods of tears. The last page is breathtaking in its simplicity, and having come to know the two characters involved, I could do nothing else but cry for them. It has left me in a very melancholy mood, but that is no bad thing.

The writing is beautiful, the characters are sensitively and convincingly drawn, the plot is complex, but the story is both simple and pure, funny and sad. A delight to read. I can’t wait to read it again.

4/5 – I really liked it.

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