Friday, 13 February 2009
Author: Milan Kundera
Number of pages: 195
Started: 11 February 2009
Finished: 13 February 2009
"What are you still doing here?" Her tone wasn't harsh, but it wasn't kindly, either; Sylvie was indignant.
"Where should I be?" Irena asked.
"You mean this isn't my home anymore?"
Of course she wasn't trying to drive Irena out of France or implying that she was an undesirable alien: "You know what I mean!"
"Yes, I do know, but aren't you forgetting that I've got my work here? My apartment? My children?"
Read a longer excerpt here.
A man and a woman meet by chance while returning to their Czech homeland in the early 1990s after twenty years of self-imposed exile. Will they manage to pick up the thread of their strange love story, interrupted by the tides of history? The truth is that after such a long absence 'their memories no longer match'. We live our lives sunk in a vast forgetting, and we refuse to see it. Only those who return after twenty years, like Ulysses returning to his native Ithaca, can be dazzled and astounded by observing the goddess of ignorance first-hand.
What I thought:
This was an interesting and engaging novel. I can see that it wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of a good read, but I found its look at home and loss and belonging to be one that was engrossing and it was a very readable book. Quite a moving read, although I think some might find it a bit pretentious.
Some have seen this book as Kundera drifting away from the types of novels for which he is famous, but if his other books are better than this then reading this book would make me really want to read those others.