The History of Love is told from four different perspectives over the span of 60 years. Most notable is that of Leo Gursky, who, as a boy and then young man in Nazi-occupied Poland, falls in love with a girl named Alma. He begins writing stories for her and continues after her family sends her to America for a better life. These stories are The History of Love (not to be confused with the book I’m reviewing, I think), fragments of which are included in this book. For most of the book, Leo is an old man living alone in New York City, doing silly things like dropping his money or posing nude for an art class, to make sure he is noticed.
The next notable character is a young Jewish teenage girl named Alma, who was named after the only character in a book called The History of Love, which her dad read, loved and gave to her mom. Her father has recently died, and her mom has been hired to translate The History of Love from Spanish into English for a gentleman who claims it holds personal importance for him. Alma sets out to figure out who this man is.
The two other narrators are a Chilean writer and Alma’s little brother, Bird, who thinks he’s the Messiah. Krauss does a marvelous job of weaving the stories of these four narrators together so in the end it all fits. Although it may take a closer reading to figure it all out.
Rated: Moderate, for some instances of strong language, and brief references to hardships faced during the Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe.