Monday, October 16, 2006

The History of Love. Nicole Krauss, 2005

One of the most overrated books I have come across! Belongs to what I would define as "learned graphomania" - a perfect sample of the latter. Obviously a lot of formal education and a lot of a labour went into creating the novel. Graphomaniacs are very industrious and sometimes the complexity of effort can pass for complexity of mind. Not in this case, anyway.

Nicole Krauss was a runner-up for the Orange literary award? She is so mediocre compared to Zadie Smith, the winner.

The story is convoluted and contrived. The very notion of "love" - the premise on which the whole book is supposed to build, is lacking. The book is tasteless in its efforts to imitate Borges, or Marquez, or Eco, or whoever she is trying to be. Images such as the man made of glass are preposterous, ridiculous - the character has to put a cushion on his behind when seating?! - how more helpless the imagery can get... Or, take for example, the whole idea of the "age of silence", or the idea of a man dancing from grief (after learning about the death of his son...) - I can't even comment on the lack of literary talent or originality that makes a book a helpless vehicle of narcissistic self-envisioning as a writer. Because, that is why N. Krauss has taken to writing - she wants to be a member of a highly regarded (by herself) club - that of writers. Well, unfortunately, membership is open to the public, but not necessarily to people with money or Oxford University degrees.


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