The history of love by Nicole Krauss
This intricately woven story centres around ‘a book within a book’, tying together the lives of 14 year old Alma Singer and an old Polish immigrant called Leo Gursky, both living in New York. Leo spends his days thinking about his death but yet desperately clinging to life, conspicuously drawing attention to himself in public, by knocking over shop displays, to assure himself of his existence. But 60 years ago his life was very different – he fell in love with a beautiful girl and wrote a book – and although he doesn’t know it, that book survived, crossed the ocean and changed lives.
Alma is named after the main character in that book, (her parents favourite novel) and she begins on a quest to find her namesake, and to save her family in the process – to rescue her mother from the crushing loneliness she feels after the death of Alma’s father, and to help her little brother Bird, who thinks he might be the Messiah.
This is a wonderful, moving book, full of really quirky, memorable characters that are beautifully crafted. What I loved most about it was that is really captures how books can literally change people’s lives, and how they can connect us across the generations, and across the world.
Curl up and fall in love with it!