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The History of Love: Bruno

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim McCabe I'm curious of those who have read the book---does anybody think that Bruno and Zvi are the same person??


Janae I don't think so. Bruno died in 1941 (pg249). I recall reading that Zvi died in the 1970's. I can't find the exact page for that, but pg65 references that he met Rosa in 1951.


Patrice Lincoln I am still trying to figure out if Bruno was a complete imaginary friend (Leo's alter-ego) or if he really existed as a boy and died in 1941... I definitely do not think he and Zvi were the same person.


Janae I believe that Bruno was real and that he died in '41. Leo made up Bruno's existence/friendship from the point that he ran into Bruno in the coffee shop. Given that Bruno had died so long ago, the characterization/friendship of Bruno from that point in the coffee shop would have been completely made-up.


Amanda Bruno was the same as the elephant that Leo saw in the square as a boy. He willed himself into imagining his boyhood friend as a perfect companion in his old age so that he could go on surviving in the world, so that he would not have to acknowledge to himself how completely alone he was.


Cindy Bruno was his defense against utter loneliness. His adolescent years of solitary hiding from the Nazis made him unable to relate emotionally to another human being, as much as he so deeply wanted to do so.


Nicole Did Leo actually see Bruno? Was Bruno as tangible to him as this keyboard is to me? After reading about how Bruno died in 1941, I reread the portions in the book where Bruno is mentioned. Were the notes he left for Leo mere hallucinations or did Leo write notes for himself?


message 8: by Jason (last edited Jun 24, 2008 04:15AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jason Hodulik I agree with Amanda (message 5). I'm of the same opinion on the parallels between the elephant and Bruno. Heartbreaking, no?


message 9: by Linda (last edited Jun 25, 2008 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Linda I agree with Patrice, Message 3. It completes Leo.


Tanya Yes i did think they were the same person. THe whole existence of Bruno confused me in the end and that is why i ultimately didnt like this book.




Linda I also think Bruno was a childhood friend. It wasn't until the end that I realized Leo kept him alive in an imaginary state. What a jolt to my senses as my compassion/sympathy/enthusiasm for Leo multiplied ten fold.


Linda I just finished this book and I think I want to re-read it. It was heartbreaking and also beautiful, but definately a bit hard to follow. I agree that Bruno was ressurected in Leo's imagination to compensate for his inability to relate to real people.


Linda I think you've got it exactly right...heartbreaking and also beautiful.


Elizabeth I believe that Bruno and Zvi were separate people; however, it seems that Leo (in an effort to ward off his growing loneliness and despair) recreated Zvi in the memory of his childhood friend, Bruno.

Supporting facts:
Bruno and Zvi are both married to women named Rosa.
(Leo knows that Zvi was married to a woman named Rosa because Rosa replied to Leo's letter to Zvi, which asked for the return of his manuscript)

Bruno and Zvi both write (in Zvi's case, "write") a book to earn the love of a woman.

Bruno dies "on a July day in 1941" (p. 175). It was in July 1941 that the Einsatzgruppen enter Slonim (p. 12).
(I include this to underline that Bruno is truly dead. He is a complete fiction. He is the only warmth left in Leo's life, hollow as it is.)


Eline I think Bruno symbolizes Leo's writing. The day Bruno dies is also the day Leo decides he'll never find the right words to describe everything, so he can't write anymore. After his heart attack he starts writing again, and he meets Bruno. He says Bruno used to be the better writer of the two of them. But there still could be a parallel between Bruno and Zvi because Zvi is the one who publishes Leo's book, and thus could be seen as 'the better writer'.


message 16: by Mqzoeller (new)

Mqzoeller Man, I am at least a year too late with this thread but I just finished and the Bruno question has me quite vexed. A good case can be made that he was all fabricated (message #5) however a better case is made in message #14.

I can't find anyone else who noticed this online so far, but when the two finally have a conversation, Bruno throws in some phrases in Spanish. (I can't find the page) There is absolutely no way that was meant to be coincidental since we can safely assume Leo knows no Spanish, however Zvi from Argentina would. That was our second clue. The first was the story of Bruno's dog running away from him and him trying to win the dog back by calling him in Spanish.

I wish it were a year ago.


Alla  Watson I believe that Bruno is the collective of all things that Leo had lost over the years, everything he missed and knew he could never gain back. At the end of the book, Leo says "He's the friend I didn't have", "He's the greatest character I ever wrote".

He creates Bruno to assuage his own lonliness, to lighten the weight of all the loss encountered in his life.


Becca I found this to be one of the intriguing aspects of this book. Here I thought that there were these two old men keeping track of each other and bringing companionship and comedy into their lives only to find out the Leo is alone...it was incredible because the author had done such an incredible job of creating a very real friendship. I loved this book. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out whose voice it was, and once I became immersed in the characters it was much easier. I hadn't even noticed the icons; thanks for pointing that out!


message 19: by Lorraine (new)

Lorraine What about the conversation between Leo and Bruno where Alma had loved both of them, first, Leo, then both, then Bruno? This confuses me,


message 20: by Sandra (new)

Sandra How does Alma know to ask about Bruno? I did not think that Bruno was in the book.


Kibriya Elizabeth wrote: "I believe that Bruno and Zvi were separate people; however, it seems that Leo (in an effort to ward off his growing loneliness and despair) recreated Zvi in the memory of his childhood friend, Brun..."

What makes you say Bruno is married to a woman called Rosa? I can't find any reference to it


Linda I think it is time to re-read this book


Danielle Reid Sandra wrote: "How does Alma know to ask about Bruno? I did not think that Bruno was in the book."

During their encounter on the bench at the end, Leo says "What are you telling me, that you were in love with Zvi, too? It wasn't enough that you loved me, and then you loved me and Bruno, and then you loved neither Bruno nor me?

She inquires about Bruno after he says this.


Sarah So Bruno wasn't even real? Is there any clues throughout the book? That came as a huge shock to me towards the end.


Natalie L. I just finished the book. I had a feeling that Bruno was not real because he had no context: no family, no job history, nothing his own other than Leo. He was there only for Leo. When Leo confesses to Alma and himself that Bruno is not real, it put his ghost like qualities into perspective. He was a ghost of Leo's imagination.
This is by far the saddest, most beautiful book I have read. All the characters are dealing with great loss and each struggles in deep, life altering/disfiguring ways.


message 26: by Debora (new)

Debora Schreiber Anyone else notice that the color blue shows up repeatedly?


message 27: by JO (new) - rated it 5 stars

JO Patrice wrote: "I am still trying to figure out if Bruno was a complete imaginary friend (Leo's alter-ego) or if he really existed as a boy and died in 1941... I definitely do not think he and Zvi were the same pe..."

I thought the tap tap towards the end by the girl (its been a long time since I read it) at the end wasproof he was real


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