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Nicole Krauss is the author of the international bestseller The History of Love, which was published by Penguin in 2005. It won the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, France’s Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, and was short-listed for the Orange, Médicis, and Femina prizes. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into more than thirty-five
languages. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
September 2017 Book of the Month A challenging, literary read of two very different narratives seemingly only linked by geography for both start their strange journeys from the Tel Aviv Hilton. That seems to be their only real connection. One story involves a rich American who decides to give away his treasures and walk into the desert in Israel and disappear. The other story involves an author who has writer’s block and is persuaded by a professor of literature to write about the end of Kafka’s life, only this is his second life, his “after life” where he faked his death and escaped to Israel. Both stories contain a certain amount of drama and incident but mostly they are ramblings of philosophy and steams of consciousness. Dense and demanding, you need to read this slowly with lots of breaks to digest the mass of intellectual debate. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
The History of Love explores the lasting power of the written word and the lasting power of love. The book was short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006 and was the winner of the 2006 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. Published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011. Clever and rewarding writing following the lives of four characters and their involvement with a desk, with 19 oddly shaped drawers. In its simplest form it is an emotional discourse on memory and loss. Great House is a story haunted by questions: What do we pass on to our children and how do they absorb our dreams and losses? How do we respond to disappearance, destruction, and change? Nicole Krauss has written a soaring, powerful novel about memory struggling to create a meaningful permanence in the face of inevitable loss. Persevere, it’s well worth the effort.
This review is provided by bookgroup.info.This book provokes strong reactions – some dislike the huge number of characters and ambiguous narrative. I loved it – for the wonderful characters, fresh language and sensitive feel. This quirky, powerful story may divide your group. Several narratives develop simultaneously and alternately, several characters develop and intertwine and several ages are evoked all of which add up to a complex and successful interweaving of lives and stories. Elderly Leo sits alone and isolated in his New York flat. He has lost all his family and friends. He is terrified of the strong possibility of dying alone, which prompts him to write out his details and planned funerary arrangements on a scrap of paper, to be carried at all times. Apart from occasional visits from equally elderly Bruno, who he contacts via tapping on the hot water pipes in the apartment block, or trips to a life drawing class to pose as a nude model, Leo is utterly alone. The solitude allows him to assess his life and the hand fate has dealt him and his tale of love, loss and survival is both unique and, I suspect, similar to many others of those who fled the Holocaust. Leo is a heartbreaking mix of pride, bravery, humour and pathos. As the daughter of a very elderly father, I felt both sadness and wonder at Leo’s struggles - the small significances, small details of a good man’s life and the tiny imprint he makes on this world.But this is only one narrative in The History of Love. Elsewhere in the novel, an obscure and fascinating book, also called ‘The History of Love’ is being translated by teenage Alma’s bereaved mother and the whole nature of creative writing is assessed in detail. Krauss’s novel has evoked passionate responses, including criticisms of the baffling narrative and ambitious cast. For me, this did not detract from the dazzling characterization and sheer range of people conjured up. Alma’s young brother Bird is a wonderful creation. Krauss’s superb writing both amazed and moved me and personally I would like to take Leo home, listen to his stories and cook him supper…but that’s another story.Sarah Broadhurst's view...Reviewed on Richard and Judy on 18 January 2006. This is the sort of book you will either love or hate, reactions can be pretty strong. Interestingly a girl at Penguin broke off her longstanding relationship once she had read it, so convinced was she by Nicole’s illustration of love. She knew her’s didn’t match the feelings she had just experienced in words, words that transmitted such truth to her heart. It says quite a lot about a book for it to have that sort of power. This is heartbreaking stuff.Comparison: Annie Proulx, Paul Auster, Michael Cunningham.