The History of Love: A Novel (post the first), Nicole Krauss

I wish I could remember how this book ended up on my kindle. If it was a paperback, I could imagine the little bookstore I might have picked it up in, but as it is, I have no idea where it came from. I certainly don’t remember purchasing it. I just know that when I went searching for something to read before bed Monday night, this was what I found. I think I started crying about a ten pages in.

History-of-Love-jacketIt was a good kind of crying though. It’s that kind of crying where it almost feels as if you’ve read this particular story before because you can viscerally recall the exact kind of sadness you’re feeling, and in its familiarity, it’s cozy. I wrapped myself up in it immediately. Here was sadness that I could get comfortable with. It helped that it was raining that night, and I had pushed open the window to hear it. Some books just read better with that particular of soundtrack, you know.

I didn’t even bother to try to finish it for today either. It wasn’t going to happen. I need to live in this strange, broken, beautiful world for more than a day or two. I have to soak in it. I have to steal pages in the morning before I brush my teeth or at lunch while I’m waiting for the car at the mechanic’s. I have to be patient with my sadness because epic and human sorrow deserves that much from me.

My brother and I used to play a game. I’d point to a chair. “THIS IS NOT A CHAIR,” I’d say. Bird would point to the table. “THIS IS NOT A TABLE.” “THIS IS NOT A WALL,” I’d say. “THAT IS NOT A CEILING.” We’d go on like that. “IT IS NOT RAINING OUT.” “MY SHOE IS NOT UNTIED!” Bird would yell. I’d point to my elbow. “THIS IS NOT A SCRAPE.” Bird would lift his knee. “THIS IS ALSO NOT A SCRAPE!” “THAT IS NOT A KETTLE!” “NOT A CUP!” “NOT A SPOON!” “NOT DIRTY DISHES!” We denied whole rooms, years, weathers. Once, at the peak of our shouting, Bird took a deep breath. At the top of his lungs, he shrieked: “I! HAVE NOT! BEEN! UNHAPPY! MY WHOLE! LIFE!” (loc 517)


I need to get back to reading, so go check Nicole Krauss out, and I’ll see you back here Monday. With tissues.

10 thoughts on “The History of Love: A Novel (post the first), Nicole Krauss

    1. I hope you like it! It has a unique narrative style that I’m really enjoying, but I could imagine it being off-putting to other readers. I have to admit though, it’s nice to read a book like this one where I absolutely cannot predict what will happen next!

    1. I’m loving it too! I wish I had more time this week to read because I can’t stop thinking about it, but my other deadlines are demanding my “curl up with a good book” time!

  1. Good gravy, that quote gave me chills. I’ve heard really good things about this book but wasn’t sure if it was really up my alley. I’m convinced now.

    1. I feel like it’s the kind of book that lurks just out of sight for awhile, and when you’re finally ready for it, somehow it manages to pop up all over the place, reminding you to pick it up!

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