Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Review: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera



It's an understatement to suggest this book is a novel, since it blends realism with fantasy as seamlessly as it incorporates history, autobiography, eroticism and poetry into the disconnected (but never disjointed) stories it tells.

Reading this book, it may begin to feel that the stories aren't necessarily blended together, that their themes or only partially congruent. But as each element is brought together, it forms something far beyond a story, almost like an experience. It implies the author's intention was not to tell a story so much as use the act of storytelling to bring the reader along a path of stones to a certain mental destination.

If that all sounds a bit heady, it's because it is. Kundera never waters down the story to make it easy to read, or even necessarily universally interesting. I can guarantee that there are many people in the world who would not be able to stand this book, simply because it isn't necessarily and orderly, neat read.

But for those who are already a fan of Kundera, or who are interested in literature as a means of informing thought or mood, rather than simply telling a story, it's an excellent read.

This review was reposted and expanded from my review at Good Reads. Oh, you love reviewing books, too? Join! We can be friends!

1 comment:

sliptakz said...

yep, that just how I felt about the book. experience