Book of the Week: The Festival of Insignificance – Milan Kundera

This is a modern master’s first novel in over twelve years—and at 85 perhaps his last. The editor comments that this brief, witty story summarizes all his major themes and is “the culmination of a life’s work.” Along with great advance reviews, we can expect widespread review coverage at on sale.

“Forgotten tyrants and blatant belly buttons have equally playful roles in this deceptively slight, whimsically thoughtful tale of a few men in Paris…This strangely amusing novella has the power to inspire serious efforts to find significance in the very book in which it is so perversely denied.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Stylistically and thematically, it’s classic Kundera: polyphonic, digressive, intellectual yet anti-philosophical, deliberately strange, and aggressively light. And his descriptions are as beautiful as ever.”
Booklist

After over a decade away from writing novels, Kundera returns with this slight lark about four laissez-faire Parisians. In the tradition of existential comedies, the drama is in the dialogue….Similar to Kundera’s previous novels, the book uses levity and humor to comprehend the lasting effects of horrors perpetrated during World War II, though it’s set in the present….The four friends’ conversations are frivolous yet weighty, leaping from idle musings to grandiose declarations—from the sexual worth of a woman’s navel to the nature of motherhood, from Schopenhauer’s relationship to Kant to Stalin’s conquest of Eastern Europe. This novel is a fitting bookend to Kundera’s long career intersecting the absurd and the moral. It is also an argument for more books like it.”
Publishers Weekly

“I just read Kundera’s little gem of a book in one sitting.  Fell into it, really…. I sat here, thinking, ‘Is Kundera brilliant because he’s comical about that which is serious, or is he brilliant because he’s serious about the deeply comical?’ Then I realized it didn’t matter at all.  Kundera appeals to us to love the insignificant.  Kundera loves it all, and I love him.”
–Karen Tallant, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

The Festival of Insignificance (9780062356895) by Milan Kundera. $23.99 hardcover. 6/23/15 on sale

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