I just read The History Of Love, by Nicole Krauss. I've been wanting to read the full story ever since her original short story, "The Last Words on Earth" appeared in The New Yorker. I had read the whole piece in one sitting, and with how my magazines pile up, it really means something that I didn't just flip through it.
I appreciated her clear and simple writing and the story flows very nicely. Overall I thought it was a very tranquil and compassionate story. Because Krauss writes her male character so effectively, I was actually surprised to find out after I had read it that it was written by a female author.
The opening paragraph grabbed me from the start:
"When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, "Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit." I'm surprised I haven't been buried alive. I have to struggle to keep a path clear between bed and toilet, toilet and kitchen table, table and front door. If I want to get from the toilet to the front door, I have to go by way of the kitchen table. I like to imagine the bed as home plate, the toilet as first, the kitchen table as second, the front door as third: should the doorbell ring while I am lying in bed, I have to round the toilet and the kitchen table in order to arrive at the door." The same beginning starts the book too.
You can read the rest of the short story online for free at: http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fiction/040209fi_fiction That way you'll know if you should bother buying the complete book :) My mom is reading it now.