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Customer Review

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 16 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Paperback)
This is the second of Milan Kundera's books I've read. I'm starting to think that I've read all he has to offer.

This is not a bad book, but to call it a novel is a stretch. It's really a self-indulgent essay with fiction-y anecdotes strewn throughout. The whole thing in terms of its structure and its themes is very self conscious, so that you feel like you're being talked at rather than experiencing a story.

Having said that, the story elements are quite interesting and amusing. It's not, as one reviewer seemed to imply, meant to be a funny book on the whole. It's more political and social commentary than anything, disjointed, at times dry, but mercifully short and succinct.

A nice little distraction with a few things to say, but I felt hard done by again by picking out a Kundera "novel" in which the author's voice is overpowering and story is thin on the ground. I'm not sure if it's deliberate irony that Kundera makes a point about people only being interesting in their own thoughts, stories and perspectives when having a conversation - this is exactly what he does here, at the expense of fiction and the reader's patience.

It's not terrible. But it's not a novel or, in 2013, particularly insightful or daring.

5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of "Half Discovered Wings"
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Location: Sheffield, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 16,242