Rich in its stories, characters, and imaginative range, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is the novel that brought Milan Kundera his first big international success in the late 1970s. 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.
©1978 Milan Kundera; translation copyright 1996, Aaron Asher (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Brilliant in parts, but also messy and uneven. It is a twisting novel of lovers, sex, names, poets, poltiics, borders, history, memory, nations and being. It slides from one original idea into another like remote lovers in a well-lubricated orgy of ideas. I don't know if it loses me because I loved The Unbearable Lightness of Being so much more, or if Kundera just failed to grab me by the intellectual shorthairs. I'm almost positive I would probably rate it higher if I had the chance to tease out the flesh a bit more. It reads (not in specifics, just in style and tone) like someone took several Wim Wenders films and randomly spliced pieces from his oevre; sometimes backwards, sometimes upsidedown, frequently disorienting.
Actor/Writer in ATX "The Most Wonderfully Ridiculous Person" -Kristen Kurtis 93.3 KGSR
I love Milan Kundera. Love, love love.
I'll admit this book is a bit choppy, not your typical novel, a bit heady over hearty.
But that's why it's my favorite of his books, and it was great to hear life breathed into it by Richmond Hoxie.
If you liked this you'll love The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Immortality, or Farewell Waltz - some of Kundera's more approachable works.
But for me, this one is tops.
Not a rivetting experience for me. But then I though F.Scott was a bit wishy washy because his characters were lost. Maybe that's what I feel here. If you are chasing Kundera to understand him, go ahead. It didn't make a lasting impression on me.
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