Saturday 28 December 2019

Book Review: Ignorance by Milan Kundera (Literary Fiction)

Title: Ignorance
Author: Milan Kundera
Harper Perennial

Publication Date: 2003 (2000)
Literary Fiction
Xmas Gift


A man and a woman meet by chance while returning to their homeland, which they had abandoned twenty years earlier when they had chosen to become exiles. 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." We always believe that our memories coincide with those of the person we loved, that we experienced the same thing. But this is just an illusion. Then again, what can we expect of our weak memory? It records only "an insignificant, minuscule particle" of the past, "and no one knows why it's this bit and not any other bit." We live our lives sunk in a vast forgetting, a fact we refuse to recognize. Only those who return after twenty years, like Odysseus returning to his native Ithaca, can be dazzled and astounded by observing the goddess of ignorance firsthand.

Ignorance is yet another amazing work by Milan Kundera. I adore his writing style and his ability to so beautifully portray a wide range of emotions and thoughts in his tales. Ignorance studies the idea of memory and its influence on how we approach past and present, and it held me captivated from start to finish. Kundera's works all contain plot and character, but they are usually secondary to the "idea". If you are someone who needs works strongly driven by either plot or character progression, Kundera's books will probably not be for you. However, if you are someone who likes to explore themes and ideas in literature, I cannot recommend him highly enough.

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