Blog Archive for Book Reviews

11 Oct 2011

Smart Women Read Krauss

1 Comment Book Reviews, What You Should Read

So, what exactly do smart women read?

Smart women are reading Nicole Krauss. And, she surely is one to watch.

In her debut novel (which is nothing short of stunning) Man Walks Into A Room, she introduces the theme of memory and loss through the provocative story of a man who is found wandering in the Nevada desert. A small brain tumor is responsible for his amnesia, but its removal does not restore his memory. The tragic story is summarized by Samson Greene’s thoughts: “The forgetting was beyond his control…. It angered him to have so little choice in his own fate—to go to sleep in the liberty of childhood and wake up twenty-four years later in a life he had nothing to do with, surrounded by people who expected him to be someone he felt he’d never been.”

In dazzling sentences like: “Somewhere many  miles away, in the heart of the desert, a man was recording memories, preserving them as another desert air once preserved scrolls of parchment. Creating a vast library of human memory, and so that library should not be lost–so that is should not combust in fire of vanish into dust and light–he was learning how to inscribe those memories in the one place they were ensured survival: in the minds of other people,” Krauss introduces the themes that will anchor (and become both her and her readers’ obsession) and her two subsequent novels, The History of Love and Great House.

Both History of Love and Great House are must reads for smart women. In both novels, Krauss explores her central themes using four distinct storylines. Great House, as described below, is a complex yet gratifying tale of isolation and connection and of the pull of the past as it interferes with the present. Neither of the novels are ‘easy’ reads, so be prepared to do some heavy lifting. But, in the end, it will have been worth the effort.