Tag Archives: nicole krauss

Book Diva Review: Great House

greathouse Healing and the need for validation are significant aspects within the pages of Great House, by Nicole Krauss.

The lives that unfold are unconnected in the present, yet connected within the time continuum, within the folds of history dating back to the destruction of the Temple. One desk, with a locked drawer, sets off questioning within each person involved in the story. Insights begin to illuminate, fostered by an inanimate object, and the desk is often looked at as almost human-like. The desk is seen by some as a sense of security, yet it is really more displacing to the one who owns it. That is one of the sad issues in the story.

Krauss has created mindsets that encompass the various folds of the Jewish religion, and encompass the issues that Jews have faced throughout history.

The inanimate may harbor memories of the past, just through the process of ownership, but in the living are where memories are housed, within compartments of the mind. At times we choose to open a compartment and remember. At times we keep those memories locked in a compartment, never to be released.

Krauss enhances the themes within the pages, and one in particular, transitions back to the destruction of the Temple. Great House is an analogy and metaphor for the Temple and what it stood for. It was THE GREAT HOUSE. We all hold the key to our unlocked stories, albeit, some might be to painful to release. As a whole unit of Jews, they hold a collective key to their past, a past blighted by the destruction of the Temple/Great House, the foundation of Jewish education and history that is carried through the generations, with cognizance or otherwise.

The Jewish people needed to heal through the centuries from all the losses, genocide, destruction, and statelessness. The sense of belonging that is the glue holding them together is a strong theme within the pages, although to some it may seem minor.

Memory and loss might lie dormant within the minds of some of the characters, much like the inanimate desk with its locked drawer. But, at the surface of the different individuals reigns the sameness of reclusive living and aloneness, and the sameness of memory’s repression of Self, and memory’s distortion of the past.

Nicole Krauss
is brilliant with word-imagery and in infusing the reader with questions to ponder regarding Judaism and its legacy. I recommend Great House for those reasons.

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Filed under Blogrolls, Book Diva's Book Reviews, Family Dynamics, Fiction, Jewish History, Literature/Fiction

Book Diva Review: The History of Love

the history of love The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, is a novel with a unique viewpoint, meshing lives and loves in a story within a story. Krauss has done an excellent job of infusing the pages with several stories, within the whole. We have Leo Gursky, a man who is aged and dying, and terrified of dying alone, without anyone knowing. He is obsessed with that fear, and goes out of his way to bring attention to himself, each day, incidents such as dropping change all over the floor of the market. Leo’s story is the most intense, in my opinion, because of his past history as a Holocaust survivor, surviving in the forests, and also due to the loss of his youthful, first love, Alma. He was able to survive by continually dreaming of Alma. When it came to her, his will was extremely strong.

He is left to survive the loss of his family, who all died during the Holocaust. Leo Gursky fell in love as a young boy, with a girl named Alma. Alma eventually leaves for America, and Leo is left behind, to suffer the pain of the loss of that love, also.

Gursky eventually comes to America. His fears are still intact. He is a locksmith by trade, unlocking doors for others, but not able to unlock his own haunted past. It is as if he is frozen in time. He dreams of Alma, his lost love, to get him through life. His one staunch friend, through all of this, is Bruno, a childhood friend, who seemingly lives upstairs from Gursky.

Gursky has a very intense and vivid imagination, one that can get him through painful circumstances. His imagination helps him survive loneliness, helps him in writing a book called The History of Love, which he then entrusts to a good friend, to hold, until the friend sees him again. Therein lies the beginning of a journey, the journey of the book, into the hands of others.

It ends up causing curiosity, to one young girl, named Alma (named by her parents after the Alma in Gursky’s book), in the present day…and she begins a search, for the author, which in reality is a catharsis for her to help her deal with the loss of her father, who has recently died.

I recommend The History of Love. It is intense on so many levels, and Nicole Krauss manages to deliver the final punch, with brilliance.

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Filed under Blogrolls, Book Diva's Book Reviews, Family Dynamics, Fiction