29 March 2010

"the history of love" - nicole krauss

when I first saw this book, I figured it would be an easy and somewhat meaningless read. I mean "the history of love" makes it sound like a cheesy chick-lit book, right? what I found instead was a book so in tune with the longings of our heart, romantic or otherwise. we love so many things, and the history of love truly is a history of how we live and interact with the world around us.

five reasons it's not as sappy as you are (inevitably) thinking:

1. it is a story about love. perfect, trust, honest and, at times, tragic. okay, maybe a bit sappy sometimes, but real nonetheless. a love that every person possesses within themselves and is able to give to others. a love that seems like it happens only once in a lifetime, but really exists in the details of our lives - the little things that suddenly seem too big to measure or even fully take in. a love that teaches us about ourselves.

2. it is a story of loss: a loss of what we fear we cannot live without...and yet somehow we survive, if only in the biological continuation of our blood and lungs and nervous system. a loss that leaves our heart shattered...and yet we continue to breathe though it feels like it is through shards of broken glass. a loss that does not make sense...and yet stands there stubbornly, refusing to move from our direct line of vision. a loss that we cannot imagine moving on from...and yet with each day we take one more step toward healing - all forward motion counts.

3. it is a story of loneliness: a loneliness that leads to illusions of things not there. a loneliness that hits suddenly like a head-on collision and makes us feel forgotten and as unnoticed as dust. a loneliness that hallows us out. a loneliness that is prideful and keep us mindful of what we have lost. a loneliness that makes us disappear.

4. it is a story of discovering: we discover the "opposite of disappearing." despite loss and loneliness we can do so much more than survive. we discover strength and find that we are not made of glass or paper. whether fourteen or eighty-four, we find fragments of ourselves in a book, a dance, a kiss, a memory. we discover that silence is not silent. our words "lose their courage" and get lost and are swept away. we discover hope. we can find joy in so many little things.

5. it is a story of life: all that it encompasses. the contradicting themes. the irony. the lessons, mistakes and experiences. the disaster that it can be, the beauty that it is.
the story of it all.


"Sometimes I thought about nothing and sometimes I thought about my life. At least I made a living. What kind of a living? A living. I lived. It wasn't easy. And yet. I found out how little is unbearable."

"Now that mine is almost over, I can say that the thing that struck me most about life is the capacity for change. One day you're a person and the next day they tell you you're a dog. At first it's hard to bear, but after a while you learn not to look at it as a loss. There's even a moment when it becomes exhilarating to realize just how little needs to stay the same for you to continue the effort they call, for lack of a better word, being human."

1 comment:

Jyndia said...

Wow, I have now reread this blog three times and each time I do, I walk away with more all encompassing thoughts about love. I have read the book, but the way you describe the most poignant and somewhat painful truths that love leave me contemplating life in a whole new way. Not to sound "sappy", but this was very beautifully written. You have a gift Carrie Elizabeth Horton! Love you