I am told that I tend too heavily towards metaphors. Here is the metaphor that came to mind as I was reading The History of Love:
Imagine a massive knot. Not the Gordian Knot, because that would make this about thinking outside of the box, and it isn’t.
Imagine this tremendous knot, which is more beautiful than chaotic. You believe that it can be untangled, because even though it’s complicated, it seems orderly and has amazing symmetry. So you sit back and study it, following its trail and waiting for it to unravel. Each time you mistake its solution, you feel a little more frustrated. But you have faith in eventually seeing a magnificent and straight rope at the end of it.
And then just when you can’t tolerate the frustration any more, someone comes up behind you and saws it right in half. (I already said it wasn’t the Gordian Knot, so maybe Alexander is on a knot-cleaving kick and this was another unlucky victim.) What you’re left with are all of the components of that beautiful knot, in a dozen useless, fraying strings that can never ever be connected.
THAT is how I feel about this otherwise well-written novel, with it’s confusing “how are they related” characters. For the first half of the book, I thought each character was nested within the frame story of another. For the first third of the book, I thought that one of the main characters was an entirely different sex. I can’t even tell whether or not we discovered that one of the characters was a hallucination at the end. The smaller those string pieces got, the more useless they were.
Would I read more by this author?: Maybe? The story was very disappointing, but it had potential and the writing was darkly funny at times.