Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The History of Love

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The History of Love

by Nicole Krauss

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss X
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2005, 252 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book

Print Review

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, 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 she says, "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, and 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.

This article was originally published in June 2005, and has been updated for the April 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Strangers in Budapest
    by Jessica Keener

    Strong characters and a riveting plot combine in this psychological thriller set in Budapest.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.