Friday 56 & #BookBeginnings: The Festival of Insignificance


It was the month of June, the morning sun was emerging from the clouds, and Alain was walking slowly down a Paris street. He observed the young girls, who -- every one of them -- showed her naked navel between trousers belted very low and a T-shirt cut very short. He was captivated; captivated and disturbed: It was as if their seductive power no longer resided in their thighs, their buttocks, or their breasts, but in the small round hole located in the center of the body. - p. 3 (ARC, page may change)

 For Friday 56:  
There was no other photo in his studio but that one--the face of a young woman: his mother. 

- p. 56 (ARC, page may change)

About The Festival of Insignificance by Milan KunderaCasting 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 Milan 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 that we could 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.

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall