Recently I received some feedback on how to improve a book review. It was good feed back and I copied down the details so that I could incorporate them into future book reviews. I dare say that I will do my best. I am writing what I will call a love letter (since no book review I could write will ever give this book the justice it deserves).
There have been some books I have really not liked and there have been books I have loved and then
There is falling in love.
Dear Nicole Krauss,
re: The History of Love
You have captured my heart. From the first several pages to the multiple end pages where I frantically fanned to find one more word, I was in love. In love with Leopold, with Alma, with Bird, with Misha and Herman, with Charlotte and David, with Bruno, Isaac, Jacob Marcus and Bernard, with Mr Goldstein and Dr Fishinabucket, with Uncle Julian, with Litvinoff and Rosa. With your words and your tale of unending love. With your twists that tied everything together. Perfectly.
This is where I should tell you that when you did xyz with your character development, I thought abc. The multiple points of view were 123 and 321. And further more, the plot itself was ingenious because of lmnop.
Sigh. I get caught by emotions.
Details of the way two of the characters kissed each other on the floor. I was there. And details of another young man wetting his hair and changing his t-shirt just to take our girl for a ride. These stay with me. That he had teased her when they were children–even that smallest amount of character development for that one minor character–it told, of course, that Herman had always loved Alma. That is what the young boys do, right? They tease girls. And the more they tease, the harder they have got it. You have rendered the smallest parts so very perfectly without missing a beat of the human condition.
And Alma, the ever curious and capable fourteen-year-old in the Big Apple. The ten going on sixteen-year-old book lover and inspiration from Slonim, Poland. Our heroine. Nicole, you lived and reached across generations, worlds and cultures to bring us a richly narrated and beautifully clear portrait of lives that come together over her existence alone. But who is Alma?
Leopold is a most surprising character, he grows into a more complex individual with every section that belongs to him. He is brilliant, yet he is humble. He is alone, yet he arrives all over the city surrounded by people. He sparks sadness in my heart, while making me smile because he really sees what is around him. He holds the mystery of Bruno, which remains the big mystery of my heart in the end.
The many points of view from first to third person that your novel consists of only make this work of art more entertaining and neatly woven. The puzzle pieces are down, the edges, the middle the top and bottom, and the picture comes together brilliantly in your first and last word from each unique character’s perspective. It is a brilliance not every author can craft while continuing to use meaningful and elegant prose.
I told my partner today, “A novel about a novel? Nothing is more lovely an idea.”
Nicole, The History of Love is the best novel ever written. Thank you for sharing your excellent literature with the world.
Kind admiration and regards,
B Elizabeth NS