|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism—that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the “unserious” in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together, talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband, “You’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it . . . I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.”
Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel, which we may easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.
For my first Kundera book I found it to be utterly delightful. What a gem! A book about existence and insignificance - talk about a thought-provoking read. Kundera is writing about the idea that our existence is insignificant - in the grand scheme of things, don't sweat the small stuff. He's writing that our family and friends will remember us, but the world will not - so, stop and smell the roses; embrace life. The overall theme is insignificance and each section in the book focuses on a different topic (such as angels or navels) that somehow connects back to this notion of insignificance. Its absolutely maddening at times to get through Kundera's dreamy and absurd narrative, but thoroughly enjoyable at the same time. I couldn't but laugh out loud and find myself smiling as I flipped through the pages. As for all of the philosophical musings, well, it definitely provided plenty of food for thought. The Festival of Insignificance is a terrific book that I won't soon forget.
Did I mention that it is set in France - how perfect! Talk about fitting in as one of my reads for Paris in July. I loved feeling Paris in the background of the story - the greenery, the marble, the parks, the Chagall exhibit, and the salon where they chatted and drank. The Festival of Insignificance would be the perfect novel to read in a park in Paris. A city with a rich and storied history, and a novel filled with philosophy - talk about the perfect match. After all, history and philosophy do go hand in hand.
And now, I'm off to find some more Kundera novels to add to my TBR list. If you have any recommendations, leave me a comment with the title(s).
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Festival of Insignificance