Thursday, December 31, 2009

The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

Art is one of those funny abstract concepts that resist definition. We want art to be something grand, something glorious, something that no one but an artist can create. We want art to be something so simple that it cannot help but be greater than its parts -- brighter than just paint on canvas, words on paper, movements of dancers. Yet we want art to be something bigger than ourselves, something that has touched the divine in humanity and brought pieces of it back to the world on slabs of stone.

And yet, we cannot say what, exactly, makes art art.

Whatever art may be, though, I know it includes The History of Love. This is the kind of book that inspires me to write, to create, to find that spark in me and share it with the world. It is beautiful. It is masterful. But it does not stand apart from those who read it. It is not elusively aloof or ineffable. It touched me deep. And that, more than any definition of style or technique or category, is art.
And at the eleventh hour, I conclude the inaugural year of Alone at the Microphone. No stragglers left over for the new year, none left behind to be filed in the wrong section of Blogger's archive. (Well, except for one. But it has good reason.)

Thank you to all of you who read, follow, share, comment on, enjoy, and support this blog. It's been a project good for my soul. And I'll keep it up so long as I keep reading. But knowing people are out there in several states and countries checking in, wondering what I have to say or what I'm reading... well, that's what really keeps it going.

Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr. May you find at least one book this year that changes your world.


  1. It touched me deeply too. Not because it's something that we can relate to, but because instead we yearn to be able to relate to these people. We want to be able to do more than feel sorry for them. It's a book that inspires me to try and be more. At everything.

    Be more.

  2. I love this book! It's been a while since I read it, but I remember finishing it with a sense of longing and sweetness.

  3. Hi Z.N. I found you via MotherReader's comment fest. It's always good to hear about new books. I'll check this out.

  4. My friend lent this book to me about a year ago and I remember that I loved it, although I don't remember much of it anymore.

  5. it's possible i'm one of your only friends who didn't love this book. i agree that it counts as art...but definitely not my favorite.