Friday Favorites: The History of Love

Thursday, March 18, 2010

When I first read The History of Love I was completely blown away. There's a lyrical quality about the novel that I love. It is a strange story, told from four different points of view. There's an old lonely man named Leo Gursky, a young girl named Alma Singer, her brother Bird Singer and Zvi Litvinoff, an old man living in Chile. There's lives are all intertwined and we hear from all of them as the story unfolds.

The story made my heart ache, in a really great way. The characters stayed with me and the book rolled around in my brain for weeks. It's all about grief and the deep fissure that it causes in our lives. It's also about the importance of human connection and the impact that we can have on the world around us, sometimes without even realizing it.

I recently suggested this for my book club and when we met to discuss it I was shocked to find out that none of the other women liked it. They all admitted they found it confusing and they didn't understand the plot. I explained a few things, which seemed to help, but I still couldn't believe that none of them enjoyed it.

It's amazing to me that a book can touch one person so deeply and leave others cold. I think it's wonderful that it happens that way. It shows that we're all different and there isn't one standard for a "good" book.


claire said...

That is so very interesting. I also loved it in the same way you did, and straightaway gave a copy of it to one of my best friends for her birthday. She didn't really get the point and said she'll reread it one day. I also gave a copy to my sister-in-law. Took her months to finally admit she was going to abandon it.

But then I gave it to my younger sister and she woke me up in the middle of the night to talk about it because she couldn't sleep after finishing. She was so moved by Leo Gursky and so pained. I knew she would love it the same way I did. Sometimes there are just things that only a certain type of soul can appreciate.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I completely agree. It's amazing when you find a book that clicks so wonderfully though. It feels a bit like it was written just for you.