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Immortality [Unknown Binding]

Milan Kundera
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber / QPD (1991)
  • ASIN: B003AAHC26
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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THE WOMAN might have been sixty or sixty-five. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Kundera genius 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A symphonic novel 3 Jan 2000
By A Customer
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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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intoxicating read! 6 July 1996
By A Customer
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genious... 8 July 2007
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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - A Genius' Best Work 6 May 2004
I'll start by saying that I consider Milan Kundera to be the world's greatest living writer, and then mention that I believe this is his finest work, encompassing everything that it great about his writing.
The basic plot is about two sisters Agnes and Laura and their relationships with two radio broadcasters. But no one should read Kundera for the plot - there is always much more, and in this respect Immortality is no different to his earlier work.
So we get sections about Goethe and Hemingway, and three hundred pages into the book a new character is introduced on whom the narrative is focalised almost until the end. And there is Kundera's constant authorial voice, which is where, for me, this novel's genius is derived.
Kundera is a definite storyteller, in that he is always telling a story, and we are always aware that HE is telling it. And he tells it so deftly that he can bring to life highly realistic characters, and at the same time dismiss their reality. In Immortality, his presence is more clearly defined than ever, with numerous first person passages being included in which he describes meetings with his (presumably fictional) friend Professor Avenarius.
This is where one of the most remarkable features of the novel appears. Kundera (as a character) talks with Avenarius about the progress of his novel (the very novel which we read this in), and describes the characters of the novel as living alongside Avenarius, and therefore, presumably Kundera himself. There are further connections; for example he describes listening to the radio station which his characters work on.
You may well be thinking that I have misinterpreted a fairly standard first-person narration in which the narrator relates the lives of other characters. Perhaps I have.
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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 11 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 13 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 14 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 16 months ago by Hugo Melo
3.0 out of 5 stars Cold, intellectual sex...
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. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dr. G. SPORTON
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 19 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 21 months ago by Sunny
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
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