Study Guide

The History of Love Chapter 13: My Life Underwater

By Nicole Krauss

Chapter 13: My Life Underwater

  • After Uncle Julian leaves, Alma's mother gets very depressed. The only phone calls she answers are from Julian.
  • Alma attends her first two drawing classes. They make her feel uncomfortable.
  • It rains continuously for a couple of weeks. Bird keeps building his... whatever it is he's building. Alma wants to help him, but doesn't know how.
  • Then it's her fifteenth birthday—it's September now (that is, we're still a little ahead of Leo's timeline).
  • Bird gives her an orange life jacket as a present.
  • Alma asks her mother if she's ever heard of the writer Isaac Moritz. She has, but she's never read any of his books.
  • Alma goes to the library and takes one of his books off the shelf. She starts to read the first page. It begins, "Jacob Marcus stood waiting for his mother at the corner of Broadway and Graham" (13.13).
  • She reads it again, and again, and again.
  • She realizes the man who asked her mother to translate the book is Alma Mereminski's son.
  • Alma goes home and calls Misha, but he doesn't call her back. She misses him.
  • Alma wakes up in the middle of the night. It's raining. She wakes up Bird and tells him that he has to stop talking about God. He has to try to be normal, or else he's never going to have any friends.
  • Bird points out that Alma doesn't have any friends either.
  • Alma protests, but then realizes he's right.
  • The next day, Alma asks her neighbor (and classmate) Herman Cooper to drive her to Isaac Moritz's house in Connecticut.
  • She tells him the whole story about The History of Love.
  • They get to the house but there's no one there. She leaves a note on the door with her telephone number.
  • A week and a half later, Isaac Moritz's obituary is in the paper.
  • Alma falls into her mother's arms crying, saying that she needs her to not be sad.