A novel, divided into seven parts and exploring immortality.
His previous works include 'The Joke', 'The Book of Laughter and Forgetting' and 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 400 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 03/01/1998
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780571144563
Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.
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Review by bibliobibuli
As much a conversation with the reader as a novel, Kundera obeys his own maxim "A novel should not be like a bicycle race but a feast of many courses": the plot meanders at a leisurely pace and explores ideas about the nature of immortality, human love and sexuality along the way, drawing in characters historical figures such as Goethe and Bettina, Hemingway and Dali. At the same time, the distinction between story and storyteller becomes blurred, the picture frame becoming part of the picture, as the writer enters his own story, meeting up with his characters in the final scene. One of Kundera's greatest skills is to show the internal landscape of his characters, the very colours of their souls, and in so economical a fashion. A puppet master showing the strings, Kundera creates his main character from a gesture, with casual sleight of hand, and the main events for his story from half heard extracts of radio programmes. There's plenty to chew over, even after finishing the book. My mind keeps coming back to the scene where Agnes imagines a stranger visiting her and asking her (in her husband's company) whether she wants to be together with him in her next incarnation in another world. The acid test for any love. She is faced with the dilemma of telling the truth and hurting Paul, or lying to save his feelings. There are also some wonderfully quotable lines in the book and I kept finding myself reaching for a piece of paper to write down some of the best. I loved:- "Our heads are full of dreams, but our behinds drag us down like an anchor". How true! Kundera is very good company and I enjoyed the book, but feel that The Unbearable Lightness of Being is by far the stronger novel.
Review by gretchenkk
Why do people search out immortality? Is it worth it? These and many other questions are ... discussed. Milan Kundera does an amazing job (as always) putting philosophy into an understandable story.
Review by Snakeshands
Possibly even better than Unbearable Lightness, if only because it so piercingly hits some of my most personal experiences but with LESS GENDER ESSENTIALISM. Not quite as heartbreaking, but the only other book of his that gives that same indescribable aura of being an Important Book to Your Life. A much better second read of his than Laughter and Forgetting, if only because that one is too similar to Lightness but slightly worse.
Review by kirstiecat
Pretty much everything Milan Kundera ever wrote is brilliant but this is one of my absolute favorites. There is so much in here to take away about human identity and as usual such richness of story. Like many of his books, perhaps meant to be read again and again throughout one's lifetime.
Review by Booktrovert
oh boy...i just don't know what's going on in my head after reading this. granted, i stayed up way too late last night to finish it. it feels to me like a book that should be read in as few sessions as possible, to stay in its groove. it took me a long time to get my footing with this novel because i don't know that, traditionally, it really is a novel. i read the back description on my book to make sure - at a couple of points during the read - that yes, the word 'novel' was, in fact, used to describe the book. heh. sure, there is a good part of it that could be pulled out and called 'novel', but then there are also these philosophical arguments being put forth at the same time. tie in the meta aspect of the book and, well, i ended up not loving it. which made me sad because i love kundera. and i love meta-fiction. i had a tonne of fun imagining hemingway and goethe together, that was a hoot. but when the philosophical narratives began, i felt like it was too obvious - like kundera was hitting me over the head with it. it also didn't make for seamless transitions so i felt jarred out of the reading each time there was a shift. overall there are some really interesting ideas in the book - of course there are!!! i just am not thrilled with the structure of how it was all delivered.though i am still suffering from a bolañover, so that could definitely be impacting my feelings of kundera at this moment.
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