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Immortality Paperback – 21 Aug 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (21 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057114456X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571144563
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.5 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"

Book Description

Immortality, by Milan Kundera, the hugely acclaimed Czech novelist and author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being: 'It will make you cleverer, maybe even a better lover. Not many novels can do that.' Nicholas Lezard

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 6 July 1996
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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By A Customer on 21 Aug. 2000
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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Format: Paperback
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.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on 3 Jan. 2000
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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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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