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The Festival of Insignificance
by Milan Kundera and Linda Asher


Overview -

From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, an unexpected and enchanting novel--the culmination of his life's work.

Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism--that's The Festival of Insignificance Read more...


 
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More About The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera; Linda Asher
 
 
 
Overview

From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, an unexpected and enchanting novel--the culmination of his life's work.

Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism--that's The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Milan Kundera's earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the -unserious- in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author's wife, says to her husband: -you've often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it...I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.-

Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062356895
  • ISBN-10: 0062356895
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: June 2015
  • Page Count: 128
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-03-23
  • Reviewer: Staff

After over a decade away from writing novels, Kundera (Ignorance) returns with this slight lark about four laissez-faire Parisians. In the tradition of existential comedies, the drama is in the dialogue. The four characters—Alain, Ramon, Charles, and Caliban—spend their days in Paris’s gardens, museums, and cafes, chatting and philosophizing. During a daytime stroll in Luxembourg Garden, Ramon bumps into a former colleague who, lying about having cancer, asks for Ramon’s help planning his birthday/death party. Similar to Kundera’s previous novels, the book uses levity and humor to comprehend the lasting effects of horrors perpetrated during World War II, though it’s set in the present. Much time is spent debating disparate, seemingly random issues: Stalin’s decision to rename a German town Kaliningrad, a marionette play that Charles imagines, a fake language Caliban invents for dinner parties. Although events converge at the party, nothing much actually happens. The four friends’ conversations are frivolous yet weighty, leaping from idle musings to grandiose declarations—from the sexual worth of a woman’s navel to the nature of motherhood, from Schopenhauer’s relationship to Kant to Stalin’s conquest of Eastern Europe. This novel is a fitting bookend to Kundera’s long career intersecting the absurd and the moral. It is also an argument for more books like it: “We’ve known for a long time that it was no longer possible to overturn this world, nor reshape it, nor head off its dangerous headlong rush. There’s been only one possible resistance: to not take it seriously.” (June)

 
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