Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss

I recently read "The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss, a touching story that parallels the life of Leo Gursky, an old man whose life was filled with missed chances and loneliness, and Alma Singer, a teenaged girl struggling to live without a father while simultaneously trying to keep him in her memory. Throughout the novel, the reader is presented with passages from a mysterious book called "The History of Love", the main character of which is named Alma. Alma Singer is told early on in her life that this book was cherished by both of her parents and that she was named after the main character because of her parents' strong connection to the novel. Leo Gursky is presented as an elderly man who immigrated to New York City from Poland during World War II, becoming a locksmith and regretting all his life his missed opportunity to live happily ever after with his true love. While Leo Gursky prepares to die a lonely death, Alma Singer vigorously searches for the Alma she was named after, driven by her curiosity while unconsciously trying to hold onto her father's memory. After a series of exposed secrets and illuminated pasts, both Alma Singer and Leo Gursky are eventually united by both their love of and strong connection to "The History of Love". The novel's ending is one of the most bittersweet encounters I have ever read. Although the plot becomes confusing at times and it is important to pay close attention to details, the novel is a work of art that transcends generational gaps and unites the characters through the power of a single book and its profound meaning to each. Provoking an array of emotions, the novel is more than a love story but rather a representation of the profundity of human relationships and more importantly the power of literature in its ability to inspire and connect.

(photo courtesy of

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Loves: "The Time Traveler's Wife"

I have just finished reading "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger. If you are looking for an unconventional love story that still delivers the same emotionality that classic love stories do, then this is a novel for you. The novel tells the story of Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire, whom Henry meets for the first time as a six year old girl during his time travels. Henry, a librarian, is eight years older than Clare, who is an artist. It follows their journey together in their various stages of life: childhood, teenage years and marriage. It demonstrates not only the amount of effort needed to maintain a marriage but also follows Clare through the difficulty of having her husband leave her for days while he travels through the fabric of time. The novel caters to a lot of tastes as it encompasses love, sex, art, literature and death. The story is unconventional as one about love but as a hopeless romantic, it drew me in immediately after having read the first few chapters. If you are in search of a page-turning novel that will pull strongly at your heartstrings, I definitely recommend "The Time Traveler's Wife."

Spoiler alert (do not read if you have not yet read the novel and are planning on doing so):

I found that Audrey Niffenegger really captures the irony of Henry's time travel, as it all at once saves him from a life of misery and simultaneously leads him to his death. If his time traveling adventures had never led him to Clare, he may have remained a womanizing alcoholic. However, his time with Clare as she grew up saved him from his what seemed to be inescapable demise. On the same note, Henry's time travel leads him to an untimely death, stripping him of the possibility of growing old with Clare and watching his daughter grow up. Henry's time traveling ability is the silver lining of his life, as it both saves him and destroys him. I also love the ending of the novel when Clare and Henry reunite at the end of Clare's life. It seems fitting that he should time travel to the end of her life because although he tells her not to wait for him, it is clear by her reaction that she has done exactly that since his death. I found this story extremely compelling and emotionally engaging. Although I have mixed feelings about seeing the film (I find novels adapted to film are always hit or miss), I do look forward to watching the story on screen.

courtesy of google images:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I've decided to start this blog because I am an avid reader and aspiring writer. To put it plainly, I love books. Novels are my drug of choice when it comes to reading. However, lately I have been dipping my toes in what are the foreign waters of poetry. Although shorter in length, I have found that poetry is extremely complex when compared to novels, as one stanza can have a million meanings. Being an English Lit. major has really broadened my knowledge of just how much literature there is out there and just how much I have yet to read (and fall in love with). To give you a sense of what it is that I read, my favourite authors range from Jane Austen to Judy Blume, i.e. I have no preference when it comes to style or time period. Other authors that I love are J.K. Rowling (who doesn't love the adventurous novels of Harry Potter?), George Orwell, Khaled Hosseini, Charlotte Bronte and so many more. Because I spend a lot of my time reading, I have decided to create this blog in order to offer my personal opinions and comments with respect to the books I have read and the ones I plan on reading.