I have had a copy of The History of Love on my bookshelf for a while now. After hearing Michelle talk about how much she loved the book on That’s How I Blog, I had to pick it up. I am thankful for her recommendation because I really enjoyed this novel.
Krauss excels in her characterizations of Leo Gursky and Alma Singer. The novel chronicles elderly Leo’s search for a son he never met and a novel he wrote as a young man. Leo’s voice is particularly strong. I really felt like I could reach through the pages and touch him he was so fully realized. In fact, I found myself wanting to reach through the pages and hug him. Alma is a 15-year-old coping with the loss of her father, her mother’s subsequent withdrawal, and her brother’s extreme fixation on Judaism. I loved Krauss’s decision to write Alma’s portions of the book in list format. This really added to my understanding of Alma as a character and was an interesting format to read.
As the story unfolds, the reader begins to see the connection between the two main characters in the book. The pacing of the book was absolutely perfect, a feat that is difficult to achieve in novels with two concurrent narratives.
I gave The History of Love 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads because it was a really good book until about a third of the way from the end. After that, it became a great book. It was not quite five-star material for me, but I still closed the book wishing for more. There was one turn of the plot that I didn’t care for in the end, but I will not spoil the book by revealing it here. Even with a few very small misgivings about the plot, I highly recommend this novel. It would be a great choice for a book club because there is so much to discuss.