The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Description:

In i The Unbearable Lightness of Being i Milan Kundera tells the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places brilliant and playful reflections and a variety of styles to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world s truly great writers

Rating: 3.63 out of 5

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Description:

Rich in its stories characters and imaginative range i The Book of Laughter and Forgetting i is the novel that brought Milan Kundera his first big international success in the late s Like all his work it is valuable for far more than its historical implications In seven wonderfully integrated parts different aspects of human existence are magnified and reduced reordered and emphasized newly examined analyzed and experienced

Rating: 3.66 out of 5

Immortality

Immortality Description:

This breathtaking reverberating survey of human nature finds Kundera still attempting to work out the meaning of life without losing his acute sense of humour It is one of those great unclassifiable masterpieces that appear once every twenty years or so br br It will make you cleverer maybe even a better lover Not many novels can do that Nicholas Lezard i GQ i

Rating: 3.68 out of 5

The Joke

The Joke Description:

All too often this brilliant novel of thwarted love and revenge miscarried has been read for its political implications Now a quarter century after The Joke was first published and several years after the collapse of the Soviet imposed Czechoslovak regime it becomes easier to put such implications into perspective in favor of valuing the book and all Kundera s work as what it truly is great stirring literature that sheds new light on the eternal themes of human existence br br The present edition provides English language readers an important further means toward revaluation of The Joke For reasons he describes in his Author s Note Milan Kundera devoted much time to creating with the assistance of his American publisher editor a completely revised translation that reflects his original as closely as any translation possibly can reflects it in its fidelity not only to the words and syntax but also to the characteristic dictions and tonalities of the novel s narrators The result is nothing less than the restoration of a classic

Rating: 3.66 out of 5

Laughable Loves

Laughable Loves Description:

i Laughable Loves i is a collection of stories that first appeared in print in Prague before but was then banned The seven stories are all concerned with love or rather with the complex erotic games and stratagems employed by women and especially men as they try to come to terms with needs and impulses that can start a terrifying train of events Sexual attraction is shown as a game that often turns sour an experience that brings with it painful insights and releases uncertainty panic vanity and a constant need for reassurance Thus a young couple on holiday start a game of pretence that threatens to destroy their relationship two middle aged men go in search of girls they don t really want a young man renews contact with an older woman who feels humiliated by her ageing body an elderly doctor uses his beautiful wife to increase his attraction and minister to his sexual vanity In i Laughable Loves i Milan Kundera shows himself once again as a master of fiction s most graceful illusions and surprises

Rating: 3.41 out of 5

Identity

Identity Description:

There are situations in which we fail for a moment to recognize the person we are with in which the identity of the other is erased while we simultaneously doubt our own This also happens with couples indeed above all with couples because lovers fear more than anything else losing sight of the loved one br br With stunning artfulness in expanding and playing variations on the meaningful moment Milan Kundera has made this situation and the vague sense of panic it inspires the very fabric of his new novel Here brevity goes hand in hand with intensity and a moment of bewilderment marks the start of a labyrinthine journey during which the reader repeatedly crosses the border between the real and the unreal between what occurs in the world outside and what the mind creates in its solitude br br Of all contemporary writers only Kundera can transform such a hidden and disconcerting perception into the material for a novel one of his finest most painful and most enlightening Which surprisingly turns out to be a love story

Rating: 3.33 out of 5

Ignorance

Ignorance Description:

p A man and a woman meet by chance while returning to their homeland which they had abandoned twenty years earlier when they chose to become exiles Will they manage to pick up the thread of their strange love story interrupted almost as soon as it began and then lost in the tides of history The truth is that after such a long absence their memories no longer match We always believe that our memories coincide with those of the person we loved that we experienced the same thing But this is just an illusion Then again what can we expect of our weak memory It records only an insignificant minuscule particle of the past and no one knows why it s this bit and not any other bit We live our lives sunk in a vast forgetting a fact we refuse to recognize Only those who return after twenty years like Odysseus returning to his native Ithaca can be dazzled and astounded by observing the goddess of ignorance firsthand p p Milan Kundera is the only author today who can take such dizzying concepts as absence memory forgetting and ignorance and transform them into material for a novel masterfully orchestrating them into a polyphonic and moving work p p Author Biography The Franco Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France his second homeland for more than twenty years p p He is the author of the novels i The Joke Life Is Elsewhere The Farewell Party The Books of Laughter and Forgetting The Unbearable Lightness of Being i and i Immortality i and the short story collection i Laughable Loves i all originally written in Czech p p Like i Slowness i his two earlier nonfiction works i The Art ofthe Novel i and i Testaments Betrayed i were originally written in French p

Rating: 3.51 out of 5

Life is Elsewhere

Life is Elsewhere Description:

The author initially intended to call this novel em The Lyrical Age em The lyrical age according to Kundera is youth and this novel above all is an epic of adolescence an ironic epic that tenderly erodes sacrosanct values childhood motherhood revolution and even poetry Jaromil is in fact a poet His mother made him a poet and accompanies him figuratively to his love bed and literally to his deathbed A ridiculous and touching character horrifying and totally innocent innocence with its bloody smile Jaromil is at the same time a true poet He s no creep he s Rimbaud Rimbaud entrapped by the communist revolution entrapped in a somber farce

Rating: 3.31 out of 5

Slowness

Slowness Description:

Milan Kundera s lightest novel a em divertimento em an em opera buffa em em Slowness em is also the first of this author s fictional works to have been written in French br br Disconcerted and enchanted the reader follows the narrator of em Slowness em through a midsummer s night in which two tales of seduction separated by more than two hundred years interweave and oscillate between the sublime and the comic Underlying this libertine fantasy is a profound meditation on contemporary life about the secret bond between slowness and memory about the connection between our era s desire to forget and the way we have given ourselves over to the demon of speed And about dancers possessed by the passion to be seen for whom life is merely a perpetual show emptied of every intimacy and every joy

Rating: 3.29 out of 5

Farewell Waltz

Farewell Waltz Description:

Klima a celebrated jazz trumpeter receives a phone call announcing that a young nurse with whom he spent a brief night at a fertility spa is pregnant She has decided he is the father br br And so begins a comedy which during five madcap days unfolds with ever increasing speed Klima s beautiful jealous wife the nurse s equally jealous boyfriend a fanatical gynaecologist a rich American at once Don Juan and saint and an elderly political prisoner who just before his emigration is holding a farewell party at the spa are all drawn into this black comedy as in b A Midsummer Night s Dream b br br As usual Milan Kundera poses serious questions with a blasphemous lightness which makes us understand that the modern world has taken away our right to tragedy

Rating: 3.53 out of 5