January 30, 2018

Right until the moment our interview ends, and Nicole Krauss melts with a hug and a kind word into a wonderful dissolvable sweetness, she is hard, formidable, icy. Not bitchy or brash, or any other pejorative descriptor of female inaccessibility, but poised and controlled, intellectually precise and unyielding, pushing right up to the edge of defensive.

Most of my tentative explorations of her latest work were met with a “No,” and a correction. And she has reason to fiercely guard the interpretation of her work. “Women writers have to prove their seriousness and authority and young men are often granted that authority on credit. They only have to disprove it,” she says. This is something Nicole Krauss says she’s acted on, subconsciously, since she wrote her debut novel Man Walks Into A Room at the age of twenty-five. Since then she’s proved it and proved it; through the poetic beauty of...

October 3, 2017

Full disclosure: I love Nicole Krauss. I have a history with her. It started when I randomly bought The History of Love on the way to live in the Chilean city of Valparaiso, only to realise later that part of the novel is set there. My husband and I have bonded over her. My daughter is named after one of her characters. I am evangelical about her work in the most annoying of ways. I came to this book open, ready and determined to love it. I did not. 

I had also assumed this review would centre around around the inevitable comparisons to Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest tome Here I Am. As her ex-husband’s work –– about a pre-divorce Brooklynite coming to terms with his life, broken relationships, his understanding of Judaism and connection to Israel –– bears a certain resemblance to this book (about a pre-divorce Brooklynite coming to terms with her life, broken relationships, her understandi...

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