A Book Review When You're Only 1/5 Through?

Wednesday 6 June 2012

I couldn't sleep last night, and so as I finished one novel, I broke open the next straight afterwards.  It always takes some time to hit your straps with a new book.  The first few paragraphs can jar as you suss out the writer's voice, and shake off the previous one.

Last night on First Tuesday Book Club, author Dame Stella Rimmington talked about the unwritten contract of trust that exists between a writer and a reader, and how sometimes you can't hand your trust over straight away.  Sometimes you never hand it over at all.  By page 12 of The History of Love by Nicole Krauss I was crying (and that's a large-print edition version of page 12, too), reading in bed by my book light, hoping it wasn't going to turn into sobs and wake the bed's other occupant.

I'm about a fifth of the way through this book and already I don't want it to end.  There is an inevitability about the ending, both physically when the pages will run out, and also within the story itself.  Leo Gursky is at the end of his life, a man you wouldn't look twice at in the street.  We get to see him through a golden lens.  Nicole manages the magician's feat of accomplishing this without any schmaltz.  There's no Vaseline on the lens, but she writes about love and loss, tragedy, loneliness, despair, beauty, and death in a way that highlights the beauty of life.  Hard to do.  Not many can do it as well. 

I'm so glad to have discovered Nicole Krauss, and so look forward to reading everything she's ever written ;)

1 comment

  1. It sounds like that's sorting out a lot of your 'stuff', Sue, and in a deliciously gentle way. May it continue:)


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