Literary reviews by Tim Love.
Warning: Rather than reviews, these are often notes in preparation for reviews that were never finished, or pleas for help with understanding pieces. See Litref Reviews - a rationale for details.

Friday, 3 January 2014

"The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss (Viking, 2005)

A whodunnit where the questing characters sometimes give us plot-summaries - "That night while my mother was upstairs translating The History of Love for the man whose name she thought was Jacob Marcus, I finished The Remedy, about a character named Jacob Marcus, by a writer named Isaac Moritz, who was the son of the character Alma Mereminski, who also happened to have been real." (p.196)

There are stories within stories within stories. Sometimes the subsection headings are numbered - "8. AND AGAIN" ... "9. HOLY COW" ... "10. THE SITUATION" ... "11. WAITING" ... "12. ALL THE FRIENDS I EVER HAD".

Books are hidden (as Litvinoff does, behind his house), and books are sought (in Isaac's house). Names change, and that's enough to lose someone. I like the extracts from "The History of Love", the one that David Singer bought.

Other reviews

  • Laura Miller (New York Times)
  • Marion Arnott
  • Natasha Walter (The Guardian) (But as the novel progresses the patterns of the plot become tighter, and threaten to drain the life out of the characters. ... Krauss is undoubtedly an entertaining, humane and intelligent writer, but this novel is just too neat and too sweet for her talent to fly freely.)

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