After finishing this book, I’ve spent the last 30 minutes in stunned appreciative silence, sometimes clutching the book to my chest, sometimes re-reading the last page, letting a chill run through me again and again. I can’t recall ever giving myself up so absolutely to a book.
The History of Love is a manuscript given by Leo Gursky to his friend Zvi during the chaos of Poland overrun by Nazis. Zvi later publishes the book in Chile, translated into Spanish, under his own name, changing all characters except one: Alma, the love of Leo’s life. Leo escapes to New York, looks up Alma, who’s been married and who had Leo’s son, Isaac, destined to become a famous writer in his own right.
Tangential to that story, Alma Singer is a 14 year old named after the Alma in the book, who sees her mom struggling to hold onto reality after her father’s death. Alma’s mom is a translator, and receives a request to translate History of Love from Spanish to English for $100k. This private request is made by Leo’s son Isaac, under the pen name of Jacob Marcus.