Thanks to the wonderful people at Allen & Unwin for the chance to share a copy with one lucky winner. Australia only as I’m shipping myself. Thanks and good luck
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 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.
‘Enchanting … it explores all aspects of a declining civilisation without taking any of them too seriously … In this novel of Flaubertian seduction, free of blame and guilt, insignificance is the very essence of life.’ La Repubblica
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Milan Kundera, born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, was a student when the Czech Communist regime was established in 1948, and later worked as a labourer, jazz musician and professor at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Prague. After the Russian invasion in August 1968, his books were banned. In 1975, he and his wife settled in France, and in 1981 he became a French citizen. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, Farewell Waltz, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and of the short story collection Laughable Loves – all originally in Czech. His most recent novels, Slowness, Identity and Ignorance, as well as his non-fiction works The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed were originally written in French.