Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Book about a Book

I've learned whom to trust concerning books. Although I avoid committing myself to reading just anything someone foists on me (and I'm sorry if I'm stepping on your toes), some of my reading friends have earned my blind trust. Recently in an email from a friend I see only occasionally. She asked if I had read Nicole Krauss' History of Love. If you haven't, she said, get it and start at once.

It had been on my shelf--unread--since it had arrived, one of my Lemuria First Editions. At the time, though, I had a backlog of "must reads." Then the book reappeared on my "Readers Ourselves" list from the NCTE convention in San Antonio. Next I had a note on Facebook from Amber, another of my trusted readers. She had finished it and wanted to ask a followup questions. (Hmmm. That's how she got me to read The Time Travellers Wife too.) Third strike. I had to read it.

All the stars aligned just right, and I came across the audiobook and began it on my daily commute. Immediately it reminded me in many ways of JonathanSafron Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: multiple narrators, one a child, more than one an elderly Holocaust survivor, a lost father. This story too begins with seeminly disconnected narrative threads, which eventually weave together beautifully.

The title of the novel is also the title of a book written by one of the characters, not written by one of the characters, about a character for which the young girl was named. Krauss deftly managed all the plot lines flawlessly, I thought.

As I listened, I admitted to myself for perhaps the first time that I love a book that makes me sad. I don't mean those Nicholas Sparks weepers either. I am most drawn into a story when I see something that is all too likely not to turn out well, involving characters I have learned to care about deeply, as was the case in this book and the one by Foer.

I knew I was close to the end of the last CD on my way in to work today, and sure enough, I reached "The End" on the last stretch of Highway 321 before I pulled into the parking lot. For the first time in a long time, a book made me cry--real tears--and not because the book was sad but because it came together so well.

I can't wait to find out about Amber's question.



Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I enjoy your book reviews. You have a great blog and I would like to read the books you have reviewed.

Amber said...

Oh, no! You're on to me. I thought I had waited long enough to use my "I wanted to ask you..." trick.

Nancy said...

Amber, I knew it would be about Bruno! That was my question too!