Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Festival of Insignificance: A Novel by Milan Kundera

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about 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.

my thoughts:

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
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!
Au revoir!


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm eager to read this book! Lucky, lucky you. Thank you for the review.

Here's my Paris in July post.

Nadia said...

Deb, definitely check it out :) Thanks!

Jeanie said...

This sounds delightful! I hadn't heard of this at all and now it's on the list. France makes it better! Thanks for stopping by my Paris in July post, too! Isn't it fun?

Nadia said...

Jeanie, France does make it better :) And this book is such a treat to read - enjoy! Thanks for stopping by - I'm loving your Paris in July posts as well. Its such a fun event :)

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

A thought-provoking read indeed! I'm glad you enjoyed Kundera's unique style and tone. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Bellezza said...

The only book by Milan Kandera which I've read before is The Unbearable Lightness of Being which was rather heavy for me at the time...I hope I'm correct in remembering that it was more philosophical than anything else. (This was at least twenty years ago, I think.) But, this new novel and set in France? How delightful!

Lisa said...

I'm thinking all of Kundera is thought-provoking, but maybe not so lacking in an actual plot. Which is not to say I didn't enjoy it. And I completely missed that I could count this as a Paris in July book!

Nadia said...

Heather, thanks for having me on the tour!

M, I can believe that it was more philosophical than anything else - sounds like Kundera. I've yet to read that one, but I'm adding it to my TBR now :) And I totally agree with you - a novel set in France is most definitely delightful!

Lisa, I concur. This book was definitely more about philosophy than an actual plot - talk about absurdities in life overdrive. It only dawned on me as I was reading it that I could count it towards Paris in July - LOL!