• Hardcover: 128 pages
• Publisher: Harper (June 23, 2015)
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 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, which we may 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.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera. Thank you to Milan Kundera and TLC Book Tours for giving me the chance to read and honestly review this book for this tour!
This was my very first Kundera novel and I really wish that I had read more of his work before reading this one. The description does say that it is akin to a summation of his work so I probably may have had a different understanding and appreciation of the novel had I been familiar with his past works. Diving into my first Kundera novel, I didn’t really get that so I will need to read more novels from him.
Even without having read his past works, I did enjoy reading this book. It was definitely a writing style that I had to get used to but I rather enjoyed it. I loved the way book was broken up into parts which were also broken up into sections. Each little section seemed to have a theme or an idea in it that tied into the overall theme of realizing our insignificance and the insignificance of our problems, things, etc. That is what I REALLY loved about this book, the meaning behind it.
This is a super tiny book but I think it packs a punch because it really does a number on you. It made me think and wonder. It was one of those books where I really had to pay attention and dissect to find meanings. It pleasantly surprised me and I’m looking forward to learning more about this author. I gave this book a four star rating because I really liked it and enjoyed reading it. It is a super light read and can definitely be finished in one sitting.
The Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, since 1975. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Farewell Waltz, Life Is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves—all originally written in Czech. His most recent novels Slowness, Identity, and Ignorance, as well as his nonfiction works The Art of the Novel, Testaments Betrayed, The Curtain, and Encounter, were originally written in French.