MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Everyday Magic in The History of Love: Background information when reading Great House

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

Great House

A Novel

by Nicole Krauss

Great House by Nicole Krauss X
Great House by Nicole Krauss
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2010, 289 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2011, 289 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Everyday Magic in The History of Love

This article relates to Great House

Print Review

Although Nicole Krauss's three books to date would not be classified as magical realism (a style, according to Wikipedia, wherein, "normal occurrences… are presented in a straightforward manner, which allows the 'real' and the 'fantastic' to be accepted in the same stream of thought") there is in her books an element of the magic that exists in everyday life. These occurrences are no less magical for being easily written off as coincidence, or ascribed to déjà vu or the smallness of the planet.

For example, in The History of Love (2005), Krauss's second novel after Man Walks Into a Room (2002), Leo Gursky, a young Polish man fell in love with a beautiful woman named Alma in the late 1930s. He was so enraptured by her that he wrote a book called The History of Love and named the heroine Alma. As the Nazis marched into Poland, Leo was forced to leave Alma, his family and the unpublished manuscript behind. He immigrated to the United States and began an apprenticeship with his locksmith cousin, eventually taking over the business. Leo never married, and now, retired in his eighties, lives alone in a tiny New York apartment. Afraid that he might die unnoticed he makes a point of going out everyday and making himself known. Whether it's by dropping his change all over the floor at the coffee shop or by taking a job as a nude model for an art class, Leo must be seen.

Across town 14-year-old Alma Singer is struggling with a mother who seems afraid to move on with life since the death of her husband. As a literary translator she leads a cerebral life, seldom leaving the house. When her mother is offered an exorbitant fee to translate a book called The History of Love from Spanish to English young Alma tries to play matchmaker. She's certain the anonymous client who wants to read her mother's favorite book (Alma is named after the book's heroine) is a perfect love match.

What ensues is all brought about by something that, like the desk in Great House, ties these people together in ways that can easily be explained away as coincidence. No hand of God. No inexplicable forces. Krauss writes about the mundane kind of magic that everyone experiences from time to time.

Filed under Books and Authors

Article by Donna Chavez

This "beyond the book article" relates to Great House. It originally ran in October 2010 and has been updated for the September 2011 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Flight Portfolio
    by Julie Orringer
    At once a sweeping historical narrative, an insightful character study and a tender romance, Julie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Color of Air
    The Color of Air
    by Gail Tsukiyama
    Daniel was raised in Hilo, Hawaii by Japanese immigrant parents. Having traveled to the U.S. ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Volunteer
    by Jack Fairweather
    Though many found The Volunteer a challenging read, First Impressions responses were overwhelmingly ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Flight
    The Last Flight
    by Julie Clark
    Julie Clark's second novel, The Last Flight, is the tale of two women, each desperate to escape an ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    He Started It
    by Samantha Downing

    A new thriller from the twisted mind behind the mega hit My Lovely Wife.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Hieroglyphics
    by Jill McCorkle

    A mesmerizing novel about piecing together the hieroglyphics of history and memory.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Last Flight
by Julie Clark

The story of two women and one agonizing decision that will change the trajectory of both of their lives.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Every Bone a Prayer

Everybone a Prayer by Ashley Blooms

A beautifully honest exploration of healing and of hope.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T Real M

and be entered to win..

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.