Search Results for: "by nicole krauss"
Within minutes of finishing Nicole Krauss‘ The History of Love, I felt so bereft without Alma Singer and Leo Gorsky, that I immediately clicked my iPod to The Great House. [Thank goodness the hubby keeps my gadgets well-stocked!] How pleased I was to discover that, of the sizable cast of narrators, one of them was actually named Alma (Cuervo) and another was George Guidall who so convincingly voiced History‘s Leo. House was off to a serendipitous start.
As with History, Krauss asks readers to work: in House, you’ll have to piece together the seemingly unrelated stories for yourself.
In New York, isolated Nadia has written all her books at a certain desk left in her care by a young Chilean poet, Daniel Varsky, who claimed that Lorca had once used it. Decades later, a young girl, explaining she is Daniel’s daughter, comes to claim it. In Israel, a widowed father examines and questions his relationship with his two grown sons, especially the younger. In Highgate, London, an older man cares for his wife, who has in recent years begun to lose her memory to dementia; her writing has always come forth sitting at a certain unmistakable desk. In Belsize Park, London, an American student recalls her relationship with the enigmatic Weisz siblings – one she befriended, the other she loved – and their mysterious, renowned antiques dealer father.
As disparate as these chapters might initially seem, they do commingle and dovetail one into the other. The reward comes with patience …
Although House is the most critically acclaimed of Krauss’ thus-far three novels – it was, most recently, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award – History surely remains the stronger title. House is heavy with Themes (yes, capitalization intended), both looming – the Holocaust – and more subtly hinted – the Israeli expulsion of Palestinians. Throughout every chapter, parent/child relationships are examined, deconstructed, and re-imagined in various permutations. As the story fragments begin to overlap, the characters who narrate (Nadia and Arthur especially) too soon wallow in self-absorption, while the characters without direct voice (Daniel, Lotte, Dov) don’t speak enough.
And yet … Krauss’ clever, compelling writing will undoubtedly keep you reading (or listening). Your need to know will outstrip any exasperation. Once you start, it’s the final chapter or bust … and yes, you do have to read all previous seven for your ‘aha’-moment of revelation. Don’t miss it.
Published: 2010 Continue reading
A few years ago, I saw a play, The Four of Us by Itamar Moses, about (apparently, supposedly) a struggling playwright’s youthful (competitive) relationship with his best friend, an aspiring novelist. The play grabbed as much attention for what was on the stage, as what was not: the playwright was ostensibly Moses while the novelist was based on the bestselling wunderkind author Jonathan Safran Foer. With me so far?
As local lore goes (as told by his former teacher), Foer’s debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, originated from an elementary school ancestor project (both of my kids have done the same project at the same school). Because of the misplaced guilt over my inability to finish either of Foer’s first two novels (someday, I will!), I thought I might instead try the titles of his wife, Nicole Krauss. And wouldn’t you know … girl power all the way. History is, in a word, fabulous.
Knowing nothing of History, except Krauss’ marital status, was certainly a blessing. What I can tell you is to read (or listen, as I did, to a mesmerizing cast of narrators) and pay extreme attention to the tiniest details. Be patient, too … and you most certainly will be amply rewarded.
Need a few hints to get you going? Decades ago in his native Poland, before the Holocaust decimated his youthful hopes and dreams, Leo Gursky fell in love madly and permanently. He wrote of that lifelong, immutable devotion in The History of Love. Now a retired locksmith living in a tiny apartment in New York City, he’s writing again … and yet …
Living elsewhere in the same city is precocious teenager Alma Singer: “When I was born my mother named me after every girl in a book my father gave her called The History of Love.” On the cover of that besotted copy, is an author’s name that is not Leopold Gursky’s …
When Alma’s father died of cancer when she was 7, her mother “sacrificed the world.” Alma desperately wants to help her mother be happy again – the answer, Alma is convinced, somehow has to do with her elusive namesake …
Krauss proves to be a marvelous mastermind as tragedies haunt, secrets unravel, pages resurface, discoveries enlighten, lives dovetail … and books are reclaimed, reassembled, and rewritten. For now, you don’t need to know anything more … just go already … History awaits …
Published: 2005 Continue reading