With a novel title like The History of Love, I was skeptical. Really, really skeptical.
To be clear, I’m not exactly the hopeless romantic-type. Actually, I’m far from it. You know when you go to a theater to watch a movie and inevitably there’s that one, call it “romantic” scene where all of the girls in the audience are expected to let out a collective “Awwwww”? Well, I’m that one girl that’s rolling her eyes in disbelief. That is if I’m not already asleep. My point is, ooey-gooey love stories are not exactly my bread and butter. Which is why I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Nicole Krauss’ The History of Love.
I approached the book much like I would a Nicholas Sparks novel. I expected a run-of-the-mill boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl, tragedy, tragedy, 40-years-later-bittersweet-ending. Which I suppose could describe The History of Love, but really, it was so much more than that. It was language so beautiful that I wish I lived in a world narrated by the author. It was getting to know and love Alma Singer and Leo Gursky, to feel the pain that they feel, to laugh when they laugh, to cry when they cry. It was a mystery that you couldn’t wait to solve, and couldn’t wait for the characters to solve. It was reading a story where you were sad to turn each page, because you know you’re that much closer to having no more pages to turn.
I’ll let the book speak for itself: “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
I dare you to say “no” to that.