The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

“These things were lost to oblivion like so much about so many who are born and die without anyone ever taking the time to write it all down.”

page 70

Ordinary humans carry the story of truth within; it is whimsical without magic . . . well, there is magic. Human magic. This book holds all of it. I love this book so much. And the crazy, bizarre thing is that I’m writing a book like this in my mind, with my grandma, with Mormonism, to find who I am.

Krauss’s characters in this novel beautifully portray this belief that I have that human magic exists. Her characters are painfully human: wrinkly, desperate, creative, lonely, and yearning to be seen. The story is intricately weaved by the characters, characters who reflect humanity, characters who reflect me.

Alma, one of the narrators, at one point pleas to her mother, “I need you to be . . .” This line suspended me on the page. “I need you to be. . .” That short paragraph, spoken in an adolescent voice to a mother whose life is lost in the past and amidst the story of an old man whose life is slipping away, forgotten, screams a simple story of truth: we are needed to be.

This book is about being, about existing. From Leo who drops coins on the ground just to be seen to Alma who tries desperately to heal her family through history and letters, this book reminds the reader to be; to live.

But it is so much more than that, more than words, it is stories. Stories of becoming, stories of death and regret and wounds. Stories of words and betrayals and messiahs. Stories of Judaism, war, and normal human people learning how to be; learning how to find themselves, meaning, and beauty in a world that separates us. But also brings us together. Magic.

The themes and tone of this novel are so beautifully put into words and paragraphs that I forget I am reading with my eyes; I start reading with my feelings and my memories. Thank you, Nicole Krauss, thank you for taking my breath away. Thank you for writing so many sentences in this novel that I want to hold forever.