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Slowness Paperback – May 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Translated By Linda Asher, First Edition edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060928417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060928414
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,941,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Irresistible. . . ."Slowness is an ode to sensuous leisure, to the enjoyment of pleasure rather than just the search for it."-- Cathleen Schine, "Mirabella""Audacity, wit, and sheer brilliance."-- "New York Times Book Review""Paradoxically, "Slowness. . . .is the fastest paced of Kundera's novels as well as the most accessible."-- "Boston Globe" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Slowness by Milan Kundera manages to be both a heady tale of seduction and romance and, at the same time, a formidable display of existential analysis. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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We suddenly had the urge to spend the evening and night in a chateau. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ian Shine VINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm a big Kundera fan and have read most of his other books. Slowness is different to his earlier books in that it is significantly smaller and was orignally written in French (rather than his native Czech). However, it is still brimming with Kundera's typically astute observations on life, love - and specifically in this novel - the pace at which we live our lives. Kundera postulates that we (well, some of us) live quickly in order to forget our forgettable lives.
Readable in three or four hours, this is a great introduction to Kundera for the uninitiated, and a by no means slight addition to his oeuvre for those who have read him before.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting little story, starts with all the usual Kundera fireworks (sexy, elegant storytelling, beautiful metaphors, philosophical connotations) but after some point early on it becomes a vein illustration in pointless associations. Still, worth a read - best to borrow!
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Format: Paperback
Slowness is beautifully written. It stays with you long after you have read it. It begs to be read again.
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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
"Slowness" and "Identity" are Kundera's post-"Immortality" novels. Milan Kundera's style and writing improves gradually from his first novel, "The Joke", and by "The Unbearable Lightness..." and "Immortality" he has developed an incredibly powerful style. His writing ability keeps on evolving in "Slowness" and in "Identity", but in these novels he does convey a message as deep as those found in his earlier novels. In "Slowness" Kundera compares two incidents separated in time. It reads very well, is quite funny at times, and is not meant to be too serious or deep.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 47 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
yes! 5 Aug. 1999
By r.narula@bigfoot.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There is no one else quite like kundera. Indeed, even the president of iran, Khatami, is of this opinion. I concur. No other author can turn a perfectly ordinary phrase or event into a philospical discourse, and yet, keep it light, make it sprightly, and bring it to an open-ended conclusion. An oxy-moron? Not in Kundera's case. Its a study of speed and slowness, and the process of forgetting and remembering. a touch of sex (invariably with a dose of S&M), and mundane events. But what i find fascinating (more so than anything else) is that he doesnt tie up all the loose ends - stories go on, just as life does. there is no neat little ribon at the end, people are ordinary with limited views, mortal thoughts, and always, display a strong weakness of the flesh. The pathetic remain so: the inglorious acquire no immortality. His eye censors nothing in its translation to the written word.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Light and entertaining�not bad at all. 26 Aug. 2000
By Diego Echecopar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After reading "Immortality", "The unbearable lightness of being", and the "The farewell party", I must agree that this novel, "Slowness" was the lightest of all of them. Still, it's interesting and entertaining, maintains Kundera's style of finding profound observations in the behavior of their characters. This time the plot takes place in a medieval castle in France, and in two different time periods: in an entomologist congress in our days (most of the novel), and also with flashbacks of sex intrigues that took place in the same castle centuries ago. The key to enjoy this book is in not giving too much importance to it. Just read it and have fun. If you have read just before a book by Grisham, Wolfe, Clancy, Archer or one of that kind of best-selling authors, you will found "slowness" profound; if you have read Dostoievski, you will not. The characters are all well built, and all of them are interesting. The author shows us their thoughts and feelings, their pride, guilt, excitement; their different personalities and the interaction between them. We enjoy the book as we identify with all of this, relating these characteristics to us, or with somebody we know. It's quite simple but very entertaining. In fact, this characterizes all of Kundera's titles. However, I believe that this is not a good book to start reading Kundera, it might give a wrong impression of the author. It's better to start with "Immortality" or "The unbearable lightness of being".
Good book, I gave four stars to it because there are better titles by the same author. If you want to read something good, but light, "Slowness" is a perfect choice.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Pleasures of Slowness 13 Feb. 2001
By R. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I suppose it would be a mistake to describe this slim volume as a fast read. If the book is shorter and in some ways lighter than Kundera's other novels, one imagines that Kundera expects the reader to linger that much longer with it anyway. Like his other novels, this one is heavy with ideas, often at the expense of character or plot, but like his other novels the range of those ideas is dazzling. The writing is irresistible, funny, provoking, and unexpected. A pleasure, like every bit of Kundera I've read. (And I'm coming to this after having read, and enjoyed, several of his books; it's impossible for me to say, but I can understand the argument that first-time Kundera readers are better off starting with, for example, the Unbearable Lightness of Being.) The primary elements include a Kundera-ish narrator off to a chateau getaway with his wife; a meditation on an 18th century novella about a brief affair; a low-profile Paris intellectual and his café cronies; a high-profile intellectual who is perhaps less an intellectual than a publicity hound; and a meeting of entomologists. Among the ideas explored are the need for an invisible audience, the meaning of hedonism, the politician as "dancer," the Sublime Planetary Historic News Event, and, of course, the beauty - the lost beauty, as Kundera sees it -- of slowness. A great read, fast or slow or in between.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Typical Kundera, with his incisive yet funny insights... 30 Mar. 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
....on the hypocrisy of human nature. Milan Kundera has this penchant for brutally analysing the schisms of life & human behaviour - their contradictions and their fallacies - all seemingly existing beneath the public masks. In " Slowness", Milan Kundera has juxtaposed two parallel stories, separated in time and space from each other. Berck and Pontevin are the two characters in one parallel. Berck is the intellectual who is at odds with his public face, with conflicting thoughts and behaviour. Pontevin is his intellectual adversary and is considered a guru by Vincent, an impressionable friend in awe of the seemingly infallible Pontevin. Parallely, Madame de. T and Chevaliar are amourously involved in another time..... The book is funnily disjoint and disarrayed, yet brings out the ironic viscissitudes of the modern world, at times different yet at times ridiculously permanent..... a good read ... I enjoyed it
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A short, fun, insightful novel 16 July 2001
By Christopher A. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A bit lighter than standard Kundera fare, both in word count and in tone, but in Slowness fans of Kundera's more traditional work will find much of what they expect: quirky protagonists, a blurred line between novelist-narrator-character, and Kundera's usual existentialist meditations.
The pace of life (slowness vs. haste) is the primary theme this time around, and to explore this idea Kundera tells the story of two seductions that are separated by two hundred years. In the present we have all the features of modern society (media, communication, technology) that keep us so focused on the destination that we forget about the journey. In the past we have the vagabonds of yesteryear who with their easy indolence symbolized the leisurely pace of their era.
Sex, as always, offers an opportunity for an interesting analogy. The present-day narrator discusses an woman who mentions the word "orgasm" forty seven times in a lecture about sex, reducing the physical act of sex to "...an obstacle to be got past a quickly as possible in order to reach an ecstatic explosion..." Several passages later, the 18th century lady who is a character in the parallel tale practices seduction as the "...art of staying as long as possible in a state of arousal."
There is lots of silly stuff too. Irreverent characters, comical situations, politics, and at one point the narrator has a discussion with a character's penis. Other reviewers have accused Kundera of laughing at us in this novel, and while I can understand how one might come to this conclusion I don't agree. I found the novel to be entertaining and, occasionally, insightful. And at 132 pages you'll get through the whole book in a sitting or two.
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