• Identity See large image

    Identity (Paperback) By (author) Milan Kundera, Translated by Linda Asher

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    DescriptionA novel by the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. A moment of confusion sets in motion a complex chain of events which crosses and recrosses the divide between fantasy and reality.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Identity

    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Milan Kundera, Translated by Linda Asher
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 160
    Width: 126 mm
    Height: 198 mm
    Thickness: 11 mm
    Weight: 134 g
    ISBN 13: 9780571195671
    ISBN 10: 0571195679

    BIC E4L: GEN
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: F1.1
    BIC subject category V2: FA
    DC21: 843.914
    Libri: B-232
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 11000
    BISAC V2.8: FIC019000
    Thema V1.0: FBA
    Imprint name
    Publication date
    19 April 1999
    Publication City/Country
    Author Information
    The French-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in the Czech Republic and has lived in France since 1975.
    Review text
    Further evidence of the decline into stentorian self-parody of the Czech virtuoso who once (ages ago, it now seems) produced such wonders as Laughable Loves (1974) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984). It's a portrait of the relationship between Chantal, who has suffered the death of her young son and left her dull-witted husband, and her younger lover Jean-Marc. The "story" is the progress of their increasing self-consciousness and unease with each other, fuelled by continuing echoes of separation and death (in a TV program Chantal overhears, in Jean-Marc's hospital visit to a dying friend), meandering thoughts on the subjects of boredom and our imperfect ability to know others, and especially a series of anonymous letters Chantal receives from an unknown admirer. His identity is soon revealed (and, in any case, isn't much of a secret) to us, though not to Chantal, who nevertheless becomes persuaded "that she has been living locked away by love, as Jean-Marc realizes "that his deepest vocation is to be a marginal person" excluded from the totality of his mistress's life and relationships. At the close, an unidentified "septuagenarian" (perhaps our author?) recalls Chantal to "Life!," and the story collapses in self-reflexive contortions as we're informed that all we've read is "treacherous fantasy". The worst feature - and it is by no means the only flaw - of this diaphanous recit is that its characters' overwrought introversion justifies their creator's indulgence in the tedious discursive commentary of which he has grown increasingly fond. Kundera seems to think he's Arthur Schnitzler or Casanova. Others may think he's Sidney Sheldon with a postgraduate degree in comp lit. If we give him the Nobel Prize, perhaps he'll subdue his mandarin ego and go back to writing novels. Anyway, isn't it pretty to think so? (Kirkus Reviews)