The History of Love (2005)

In Isaiah 55, God states that His word “will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” This is a powerful statement about the efficacy of language as it relates to divine decree. The History of Love does not attempt to treat upon such lofty themes, but it is about the power of words, and explores their power long after they are forgotten by those who breathed life into them initially.

The book’s title refers to a fictional work within the story, a book written by the protagonist, Leo Gursky.  He wrote his magnum opus, The History of Love as a love letter to his childhood sweetheart after she emigrated to America before World War II. Gursky manages to survive the war and make it to America, but in the chaos believes his work to be lost. 

Krauss paints a poignant picture of the power of one man’s words, thought to be lost to the ravages of time and Nazism to draw together families and radically alter life. The book is beautifully composed, implementing the perspectives of multiple characters as first person narration. This novel provides an excellent entry point into extended meditation on love and the power of the written word.

-Nate Campbell

The History of Love at Google Books


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