The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

bookoflaughterLike most (all?) of Kundera’s novels this novel is about a Kundera type of person who goes around having a Kundera kind of life. He’s living in Czechoslovakia at the time of the Prague Spring and then the arrival of the Soviet tanks and he’s getting on with being a Kundera kind of person. Thinking great thoughts. Doing stuff. The same kind of stuff a number of times in any number of ways. But, as John Updike says “This book, as it bluntly calls itself, is brilliant and original, written with the purity and wit that invite us directly in.” And it is, just like his more famous “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, an amazing novel of ideas, written in a style that has many imitators over the years, most recently the young novelist Adam Thirwell.

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