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Immortality [Paperback]

Milan Kundera , Peter Kussi
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

21 Aug 2000

This breathtaking, reverberating survey of human nature finds Kundera still attempting to work out the meaning of life without losing his acute sense of humour. It is one of those great unclassifiable masterpieces that appear once every twenty years or so.

'It will make you cleverer, maybe even a better lover. Not many novels can do that.' Nicholas Lezard, GQ


Frequently Bought Together

Immortality + The Book of Laughter and Forgetting + The Unbearable Lightness of Being
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (21 Aug 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057114456X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571144563
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Ingenious witty provocative and formidably intelligent, both a pleasure and a challenge to the reader." -- Jonathan Yardley, "Washington Post Book World""Inspired Kundera's most brilliantly imagined novel...A book that entrances, beguiles and charms us from first page to last."-- Susan Miron, "Cleveland Plain Dealer""Brilliantly mordant...beautifully translated...strong and mesmerizing." -- "New York Times"

About the Author

The French-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in the Czech Republic and has lived in France since 1975.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
THE WOMAN might have been sixty or sixty-five. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A symphonic novel 3 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Rue the day you bought this book, for it will ruin your life. This is the most tragic and disturbing novel you will ever read. It's also very amusing and sweetly romantic at times, but the overall sense you will have upon finishing it is that something has been changed within you and will never be the same again. Of course, if this is the main pleasure you get from reading then rush for your credit card now - this is the most refined piece of formalised horror you can get, even at Amazon!
Watch as the quintessential gestures pass from character to character, discover how your own individuality is unreal, see how the little people become transparent and sad, how their lives are shown to be imitations of eternal ideas, their achievements wrongly targeted, their thoughts not at all their own. If you can survive this with your ego intact, let me know how, because after reading this, I'm not sure I can think or exist at all, and yet the stereogestures keep on flowing. Seriously though, this is a bloody good read, and the most thought-provoking (if blasphemous to the human ego) thing you can subject yourself to. If you've ever read a Kundera, this will better it, and if you want to but haven't yet, forget the rest and go for this. (Then get all the rest as well.) Oh what the hell, this is the best novel since sliced... JUST BUY IT!!!!!
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Kundera genius 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As in the earlier "Unbearable lightness...", Kundera writes a novel based on extremely well crafted characters, and this time he also includes a couple of historical characters and himself as well. Kundera's style and language makes this novel very easy to read, but the material is in fact quite heavy. It's a joy to read, but quite troubling at some points. I highly recommend this book, but I tend to propose interested readers to read "Unbearable lightness..." or some other of Kundera's earlier novels before tackling "Immortality".
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intoxicating read! 6 July 1996
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Reading a novel by Milan Kundera is a bit like taking a
long lunch with your favorite college philosophy professor,
and discovering that he's a wonderful storyteller. This
particular novel begins with a woman's beautiful but
fleeting gesture, and continues by telling us more about
her until both the history and the significance of her
gesture are revealed in their full, heady, context. On the
way, Kundera weaves in stories about Goethe, Napoleon, the
origins of sound bites and photo-ops, and of course, musings
on immortality. Like many good storytellers, Kundera even
presents himself as a minor character in his tale of love,
gestures and immortality. By the end of the novel, you will
feel intoxicated, as if your long lunch has been accompanied
by a number of good glasses of wine. And as you lift your
hand to wave goodbye to Kundera, you will realize that your
life has been changed, and that you will forever look at the
world with a slightly different view for having read this
amazing book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cold, intellectual sex... 22 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback
In an opening with obvious Proustian overtones, the resistance of a gesture by an ageing dowager to properly conform to her maturity sparks off the construction of Kundera's novel. Construction is truly the word here, as we readers are invited from the inside into the author's process and Kundera obliges by laying open his various tricks and techniques to move the story along. The book, however, is less about that gesture and its properties than about coincidence, that long-time stalwart of the writer lost for plot connections. By employing this, Kundera manages to weave together the strands of his contemporary characters with sufficient clues for the intelligent reader to follow, but also telegraphs the signs to look for, leaving us knowing far more than the characters (and, it seems, the author) long in advance of the revelations of a new connection. There are two major problems with this. The first is that the aestheticised and intellectualised experience of life and sex by the characters is appallingly cold, distinctly lacking in humour and full of ominous portents. These latter turn into damp squibs when consequences arise because we find ourselves without a care for the aloof and emotionally retarded people who populate the novel, having anticipated their fate many pages before. The second is the inability for the best parts of the book, the historical sections that deal with immortality proper and exploring the reflexivity of figures who know themselves to be of historical importance or hope to be so, to interpolate with the lives and the story of the middle-class French dullards serving out their existence without enthusiasm in the rest of the book. Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genious... 8 July 2007
Format:Paperback
Previous reviews have deconstructed this novel both fairly and accurately. When I was 18, I read this book (now 36). I re-read it when 21. It remains the only book I have read twice. I did not read before this book. I have not stopped reading since

It is the best example of a novel portraying moral philosophy you will find. Its message and attitude is conveyed through a fairly simple love story in essence. I do not read love stories as a rule.

The best book I have ever read. Up to you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Immortality
Excellent translation of this important work. Have now read it in 2 languages, English and Hungarian, and enjoy its construction greatly.
Published 16 months ago by Trevor HayduJones
4.0 out of 5 stars Would you like to be imortal?
No what I expected but really very interesting. Do you want to be imortal ? read how some others went about achievinng this!
Published 18 months ago by Gillian A. Herbert
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and Thought-Provoking
I've sat staring at the screen for a while now, wondering how on Earth to start a review of this book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Vickyloo
4.0 out of 5 stars Kundera's Immortality.
Kundera is a tremendously original writer. His narrative style is very unique and the appeal of his novels lie not on the plots, which are simple and mundane, but on the... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Hugo Melo
3.0 out of 5 stars Still not sure
I normally find books like this quite uplifting but to be honest struggled with it and not really sure what it's all about. Maybe it's me!
Published 23 months ago by Mrs. S. Gilvarry
4.0 out of 5 stars Indulgent, but genuine contemplation of humanity
Reading Kundera is quite unlike reading anything else. If a consciousness of a person/character can be likened to a quilt, then Kundera is like a gentle hand feeling every fold... Read more
Published on 8 July 2012 by coronaurora
4.0 out of 5 stars Something for everyone
For those who are familiar with Milan Kundera's work, you sort of know what to expect: a mixture of philosophical musings, good story-telling, imaginative vignettes and of course... Read more
Published on 4 Nov 2010 by Gurjit
5.0 out of 5 stars What happens when you look on your bookshelf again
Funny what a little tidying will do. Found this extraordinary book lurking on the bookshelf, begging for a re-read some 20 years after my first outing with it. Read more
Published on 18 May 2010 by happy camper
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensual, intoxicating, mesmerising...
From almost the first page, Kundera holds the reader with his assured, purposeful prose, and it feels as though we have been invited to watch the creation of the narrative itself. Read more
Published on 19 April 2009 by LittleMoon
5.0 out of 5 stars Immortality
Milan Kundera states it best midway through his novel: 'Dramatic tension is the real curse of the novel, because it transforms everything, even the most beautiful pages, even the... Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2007 by Damian Kelleher
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