Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Nicole Krauss delivers an exceptionally delicate world with The History of Love. So far into the plot, I’m already captivated by Leo’s beautiful portrayal of a time when verbal communication did not exist – The Age of Silence – “If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less.” It is, however, apparent that Leo and Alma is bounded by fate through this one masterpiece and perhaps will even reunite in the ending. But Krauss touched on something all writers are fearfully curious about – “Staring out the window, Litvinoff imagined the two thousand copies of The History of Love as a flock of two thousand homing pigeons that could flap their wings and return to him to report on how many tears shed, how many laughs, how many passages read aloud, how many cruel closings of the cover after reading barely a page, how many never opened at all.”

An overall statistics of the questions above may be partially satisfying but I believe that writing a book is for one specific purpose and that purpose only. If it has achieved that predetermined goal, then I deem it successful (is that asking too little?). Monetary gains and fame are basics on everyone’s agenda but most of us that are still in grip with reality know that, unlike Litvinoff, it’s not every day that a one-hit-wonder book can be written and published. It’s safe to say that our first couple, if not several, books will fail miserably but the publication and acknowledgment of that first book is a teary recognition irreplaceable by any price.

Hope that everyone uncovers a dusty treasure, as if predestined, this summer.

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