Thursday 22 December 2016

Book Review: The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

Title: The Festival of Insignificance
Author: Milan Kundera
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: 2015 (2013)
Pages: 115
Format: Hardback
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Gift

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Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism—that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers 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. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband: “you’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it…I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.”

Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.
(Goodreads Synopsis)

With The Festival of Insignificance, Kundera once again offers readers matter for deep thought revealed under the veil of humour. What I love about Kundera's writing is the way the prose appears so simple yet contains layers of hidden meaning that come to you slowly, often long after you've set aside the book. This is why he remains one of my favourite modern authors. Every new work of his is both a pleasure to read and a philosophical experience.

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