Leo Gursky is the oldest and loneliest man in the world. Loneliness seeps through every organ of his body, and he spends his days waiting to die. He purposely makes a spectacle of himself to strangers because he doesn't want to die unnoticed. Leo Gursky is a survivor, he has outlived everyone he loves, except for Bruno - his only friend(view spoiler)[(who we find out in the end, might've just been an illusion Leo hung onto in order to survive) (hide spoiler)]
. Leo Gursky has only loved one woman his entire life, and he has a son who doesn't know he exists.
Alma Singer is a 14 year old girl who has lost her father at the age of 9. Since then, her mother has shut off the world, and spends her days in her room, translating novels and hanging onto the memory of Alma's father. Alma has a younger brother, nicknamed Bird, who thinks he's a lamed vovnik or the messiah. Leo and Alma's stories are connected through a novel that Leo wrote when he was 20, that he thought was lost forever.
The prose is beautiful, and there are so many lines that wonderfully capture the human experience. Leo and Alma, as narrators, both present a very unique and compelling voice for the novel.
But, there are times when the prose bothers me. Leo likes to write one or two word sentences (e.g. "But." or "And yet."), which really disrupts the flow of the prose. I felt as if I've abruptly walked into a metal pole after periods of serene strolling.
The writing style was also all over the place, and it kind of fell apart towards the end. It was ok in the beginning, but it just seemed like the author was trying to incorporate too many things towards the end. It didn't feel very cohesive. I expected everything to come together in the end, but it was somewhat unresolved. Bird's and Alma's storyline felt unfinished. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>