Nicole Krauss Biography
Nicole Krauss spent her childhood on Long Island and has degrees from Stanford and
Oxford. Well into her twenties, she wrote poetry, which "felt like the
great goal of the language." (She was a lot like the 14-year-old narrator of
The History of Love, Alma Singer, who wants to be a survivalist, compiles obsessive lists, and is an avid collector). Then she abruptly quit
poetry having set aside "an impossible quest for poetic precision."
Her first novel,
Man Walks Into a Room (2002), was very well received
and was followed by a six-figure, two-book deal. Speaking of her first book she
says, "Getting a book published made me feel a little bit sad... I felt driven by the need to write a book, rather than the need to write. I needed to figure out what was important to me as a writer." While she was writing The History of Love (2005), "There was a real loosening of control. There
was no end in sight, no synthesis at all until finally there it was."
She is married to the author
Jonathan Safran Foer - a
subject she tends to avoid talking about in interviews because she prefers that
her work stand alone. Their debuts both appeared on the "best-of-lists" of
2002, and some reviewers
feel that their second books bare striking similarities, that the two must
collaborate. (Both second books revolve around fathers, exiled from
Europe, who have outlived sons they've never met). Krauss describes such
comparisons as "laughable", insisting that they do not collaborate and that they
don't even read each other's proofs until the end.
The reality seems to be simply that their interests run parallel; for example,
before they even met, she did her Oxford thesis on compulsive collector-artist
Joseph Cornell, and Foer created a poetry anthology inspired by Cornell's work;
and both their family histories are rooted in the Holocaust, but they are both
uncomfortable with having their books pigeonholded as "Jewish fiction." Growing up in a Jewish neighborhood,
Krauss "wanted to have nothing to do with anything
Jewish at all." but she's clearly begun returning to
that history: A few years ago, she began recording conversations with her
grandparents, for a semi-fictional piece she might publish someday. The
History of Love (2005) is dedicated to "Jonathan, my life" and "My
grandparents, who taught me the opposite of disappearing."
Krauss's fiction has been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, and Best American Short Stories, and her books have been translated into more than thirty-five languages. She completed a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, and her novel, Great House was published in October, 2010. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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This biography was last updated on 10/12/2010.
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