Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Milan Kundera, Translated by Peter Kussi

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  • Publisher: FABER & FABER
  • Format: Paperback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 196mm x 30mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 21 August 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 057114456X
  • ISBN 13: 9780571144563
  • Edition statement: Main
  • Sales rank: 19,994

Product description

A novel, divided into seven parts and exploring immortality. His previous works include 'The Joke', 'The Book of Laughter and Forgetting' and 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being'.

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Author information

Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France for over forty years. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novels The Joke (1967), Life is Elsewhere (1973), The Farewell Waltz (1976), The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1978), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), Immortality (1991), and the short-story collection Laughable Loves (1969), which were all originally written in Czech. His play, Jacques and His Master (1984), Slowness (1995), Identity (1998) and Ignorance (2002) were all originally written in French. Milan Kundera has also written extensively about the novel in four collections of essays - The Art of the Novel (1968), Testaments Betrayed (1993), The Curtain (2007) and Encounter (2009).

Customer reviews

By a Book Depository customer 10 Dec 2008 3

"Milan Kundera is a very good writer and I find his stories interesting and easy to read. In this book he alternates between the characters and himself, drawing them together as the novel progresses. Unlike in 'The book of laughter and forgetting' where the division is apparent, here it blends and seperates repeatedly. I found this very boring to read, and quite self-indulgent on the author's part. His earlier book 'The Joke' was an excellent, character-driven novel but I'm beginning to think that was just a once-off."

Review quote

"Ingenious witty provocative and formidably intelligent, both a pleasure and a challenge to the reader." -- Jonathan Yardley, "Washington Post Book World""Inspired Kundera's most brilliantly imagined novel...A book that entrances, beguiles and charms us from first page to last."-- Susan Miron, "Cleveland Plain Dealer""Brilliantly mordant...beautifully translated...strong and mesmerizing." -- "New York Times"

Editorial reviews

On seeing a casual gesture of an unknown French woman, the author gives her the name Agnes and constructs her imaginary life and death with exuberant detail. Through her, Kundera satirizes human behaviour with unnerving accuracy, bringing to the fore our own half-thoughts and analysing them with humour and lyricism. Peter Conrad, the author and critic, has described how the book dismisses the brutal 20th century with its mad faith in applied science, and discounts too the 19th century, when the crazed cult of technical progress began. It calls instead, he says, for a return to the leisurely hedonism of the 18th century, and 'offers playful, ingenious evidence that the creative spirit is unkillable.' (Kirkus UK)