A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals—while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel “the unbearable lightness of being."
"A THOUGHTFUL JOURNEY"
In this dark farce of a novel, set in an old-fashioned Central European spa town, eight characters are swept up in an accelerating dance: a pretty nurse and her repairman boyfriend; an oddball gynecologist; a rich American (at once saint and Don Juan); a popular trumpeter and his beautiful, obsessively jealous wife; an disillusioned former political prisoner about to leave his country and his young woman ward. Farewell Waltz poses the most serious questions with a blasphemous lightness that makes us see that the modern world has deprived us even of the right to tragedy.
"Morality and Mortality"
A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals - while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel "the unbearable lightness of being."
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.
"A well-lubricated orgy of ideas"
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. 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 this novel.
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.
Pietra miliare della letteratura del Novecento, il romanzo mette in scena un perfetto quadrilatero amoroso entro cui le storie dei protagonisti s'intrecciano con le grandi domande della vita, come quelle sul valore delle scelte individuali, sul rapporto tra pesantezza e leggerezza, libertà e costrizione. Alla fine degli anni Sessanta, tra la Primavera praghese e l'invasione sovietica, la giovane Tereza e il marito Tomáš, la pittrice Sabina e il suo amante Franz, oscillando tra fedeltà e tradimenti, esplorano passioni e vertigini di un mondo che è diventato una trappola.
Milan Kundera's sixth novel springs from a casual gesture of a woman to her swimming instructor, a gesture that creates a character in the mind of a writer named Kundera. Like Flaubert's Emma or Tolstoy's Anna, Kundera's Agnes becomes an object of fascination, of indefinable longing. From that character springs a novel, a gesture of the imagination that both embodies and articulates Milan Kundera's supreme mastery of the novel and its purpose: to explore thoroughly the great themes of existence.
"Cerebral Crosswinds in Parisian fields"
Kundera brilliantly examines the work of such important and diverse figures as Rabelais, Cervantes, Sterne, Diderot, Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Musil. He is especially penetrating on Hermann Broch, and his exploration of the world of Kafka's novels vividly reveals the comic terror of Kafka's bureaucratized universe. Kundera's discussion of his own work includes his views on the role of historical events in fiction, the meaning of action, and the creation of character in the postpsychological novel.
The author initially intended to call this novel The Lyrical Age. 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.
One of the great masterpieces of modern Latin American fiction, Terra Nostra is concerned with nothing less than the history of Spain and of South America, with the Indian Gods and with Christianity, with the birth, the passion, and the death of civilizations. Fuentes skillfully blends a wide range of literary forms, stories within stories, Mexican and Spanish myth, and famous literary characters in this novel that is both a historical epic and an apocalyptic vision of modern times. Terra Nostra is that most ambitious and rare of creations - a total work of art.
"Too much of a good thing"
In this dark farce of a novel, set in an old-fashioned Central European spa town, eight characters are swept up in an accelerating dance. Perhaps the most brilliantly plotted and entertaining of Milan Kundera's novels, Farewell Waltz poses the most serious questions with a blasphemous lightness that makes us see that the modern world has deprived us even of the right to tragedy. Written in Bohemia in 1969-70, this book was first published in 1976. This beautiful new translation, made from the French text prepared by the novelist himself, fully reflects his own tone and intentions.
Listeners 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.
"A Review of Little Significance."
In this thought-provoking, endlessly enlightening, and entertaining essay on the art of the novel, renowned author Milan Kundera suggests that "the curtain" represents a ready-made perception of the world that each of us has - a pre-interpreted world. The job of the novelist, he argues, is to rip through the curtain and reveal what it hides. Here an incomparable literary artist cleverly sketches out his personal view of the history and value of the novel in Western civilization.
"Opinionated and interesting"
A budding poet and his adoring mother are the central characters of this intriguing early novel by Milan Kundera. He takes us through the young man's fantasies and love affairs in a characteristic tour de force, alive with wit, eroticism, and ideas.
"Amazing and unique."
Milan Kundera's brilliant new collection of essays is a passionate defense of art in an era that, he argues, no longer values art or beauty. With the same dazzling mix of emotion and ideas that characterizes his bestselling novels, the internationally acclaimed author revisits the artists whose works help us better understand what it means to be human. Elegant, startlingly original, and provocative, Encounter combines many of the author's signature themes with personal reflections and stories.
Disconcerted and enchanted, the listener follows the narrator of Slowness through a midsummer's night in which two tales of seduction, separated by more than 200 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 .
Irena and Josef meet by chance while returning to their homeland, which they had abandoned 20 years earlier. 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."
Vier Männer streifen durch Paris, besuchen ein elegantes Fest, beobachten die erotischen Strategien ihrer Mitmenschen: Alain entwickelt komplizierte Theorien über die Lust junger Mädchen, den Bauchnabel freizulassen. Ramon dagegen würde gern endlich die Chagall-Ausstellung besuchen. Charles erläutert Stalins Witze, bei denen niemals jemand lachte. Und Caliban, der Schauspieler ohne Rollen, erfindet eine eigene Sprache, die er zu Pakistanisch erklärt und über die nur er sich kaputtlachen kann - bis das junge portugiesische Hausmädchen ihn versteht.