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The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  30,619 Ratings  ·  1,296 Reviews
Rich in its stories, characters, and imaginative range, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is the novel that brought Milan Kundera his first big international success in the late 1970s. Like all his work, it is valuable for far more than its historical implications. In seven wonderfully integrated parts, different aspects of human existence are magnified and reduced, reor ...more
Paperback, 263 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by HarperPerennial Modern Classics (first published 1978)
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“He was well aware that of the two or three thousand times he had made love (how many times had he made love in his life?) only two or three were really essential and unforgettable. The rest were mere echoes, imitations, repetitions, or reminiscences.”

Ah, the endlessly quotable Kundera. I had to hold myself back from updating my status every other page; there were just so many perfectly composed sentences I wanted to share with you, goodreaders. Sometimes that’s all it takes to win me over, a st
Aug 11, 2007 Martha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Ask any Kundera fan which book of his is their favorite, and the answer will inevitably be the first book of his that they read. His unique writing style comes as a revelation at first, but unfortunately can grow irritating the more books of his one reads. "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting" is the first one I read, and it holds a special place in my reading history as the one book that I instantly began re-reading as soon as I finished it. If you haven't read Kundera, I would recommend this o ...more
Dec 30, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing
Just like you've gotta travel to Prague to believe it's overpowering Wonderlandesque feel, you must read this novel. Its bonkers-brilliant! Phantasmagoric originality liTke this--a virtual valentine full of passions submerged & portends of an oversoul/celestial awareness to that fantastic aforementioned European city--comes very seldom in a reader's sweet life. You won't forget The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
Jul 02, 2015 Manny rated it liked it
It was funny, but I can't remember why.

[This is actually true, sad to tell]
What is a novel? Or perhaps that question should be, what is a novel for you? Is it a story? Does it have to have a dramatic arc? That’s pretty much what most of us think of when we think of novels. The story could be wholly plot-driven like The Da Vinci Code. It could be character-driven (e.g., Sense and Sensibility). Or it could simply an account of someone’s day (Mrs Dalloway). It could be written as straight-forward narrative (e.g., Madam Bovary) or play with form and structure (e.g., Ulysse ...more
Taghreed Jamal el deen
هل عرف التاريخ كاتبا أكثر جنونا منك يا كونديرا ؟!
إن سألتموني عن رأيي بأي كتاب لكونديرا سأقول أنه يعجبني ..
- ما الذي يعجبكِ فيه ؟
- لا أدري
- لخّصي لنا موضوعه
- لا أستطيع

صدقا لا أعرف كيف أصف كتبه ورواياته ولا ما أحبه فيها تحديدا ،
ما أعرفه فقط أنها تعجبني وتلمسني وتدفعني للتفكّر .. وترسم على وجهي ابتسامة كبيرة :)

من بين المجموعة قصة " الليتوست " كانت الأروع
Ian "Marvin" Graye

No Memories of Merriment: Milan Kundera in Heideggerian Mode

"A novel examines not reality but existence. And existence is not what has occurred, existence is the realm of human possibilities, everything that man can become, everything he's capable of. Novelists draw up the map of existence by discovering this or that human possibility. But again, to exist means: 'being-in-the-world'. Thus both the character and his world must be understood as possibilities."

"Love's absolute is actually a
Such a unique writer, Kundera! What a way he has to shine the brightest light on the deepest corners of human psyche! What's really impressive, though, is the fact that he combines human every-day behavior with historical facts. The connection between those two is for the reader to make.

What some readers may find annoying, is the fact that Kundera is rather interventional when it comes to his characters. He doesn't hesitate not only to talk about himself, but also analyze his theories. Me, I do

القراءة الثانية لكونديرا والتي لم تكتمل أيضاً مثل سابقتها من كثرة ما قفزت فوق الفقرات والصفحات !
هذا الكتاب كان محاولتي الثانية للقراءة له ،
ولا أعتقد أنني سأكرر الأمر مرة ثالثة !!

هناك شئ ما خطأ .. شئ يضايقك حين تجد فكرة فلسفية ممتازة بحق ترتدي ثوباً أدبياً سيئاً
شئ ما يجعلك تحزن ، حين تجد فكرة رائعة كان من الممكن التعبير عنها في صورة أدبية رائعة وكلمات ممتازة وقصة شائقة ، وبدلاً من ذلك ، تجد ثوباً أدبياً رديئاً يدور حول هاجس واحد فقط يمتلك الكتاب من بدايته لنهايته !!
فالكتاب ليس رواية واحدة ..
بل مج
Jan 24, 2016 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, audiobook
One of the characters in this book says that he intends to write a book about politics and love. And, that is exactly what this is; a book about politics and love. The style of writing is quite different from most other novels; there is not much dialog, mostly narration. And, at least once the author speaks directly to the reader about the book. He describes how Beethoven first popularized the musical form "theme and variations", and that this book is based on the same form. It is built on seven ...more
...إنها رواية تدور حول الضحك و النسيان ، حول النسيان و حول براغ ، حول براغ و حول الملائكة

قراءتي الثالثة للكاتب الغريب و المحبوب كونديرا *-* كونديرا الروائي الذي لا يحكي عبر قصصه بل يحيك رموزه السرية في قصص تختلف و تلتقي في آخر مطافها عند نفس المحطة : ألا و هي جوهر موضوع مبهم

: description

انا و غيري قد يحدث و نشتكي من ولع كونديرا بالوصف المبتذل مما يعتبره هو بحد ذاته "حركات سخيفة " مكررة غالبيتها حول الجنس ، إلا أن وجودها الطاغي في قصصه يدخل ضمن مجموع الايحاءات المستعملة ذات بعد أكثر عمقا و هي الأشد استعما
Dina Nabil
Feb 01, 2016 Dina Nabil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

هي روايتي الاخيرة مع العزيز ميلان كونديرا بعد انتهاء قراءتي في رواياته الاخرى جميعها ، و لن توجد نهاية اجمل من تلك التي اهداها لي العزيز كونديرا في "كتاب الضحك و النسيان"

الكتاب الاكثر سيريالة علي الاطلاق من اعمال كونديرا ففيه يتنقل بحرية المحنك و الكاتب الذى لا يهتم ابدا باراء الاخريين بين القصة القصيرة و الرواية و المذكرات الشخصية و فن المقال ... تركيبة لن تنجح ابدا الا ببصمة كونديرا و حتي بها تبدو الفوضي -التي لم يهتم بتنظيمها- هي السائدة تبلبل ذهن القارئ
لكن الرحلة تلك بكل صعوبتها و تقلباتها ت
Jun 06, 2011 Giuseppe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: activists, poets, philosophers, the high minded, sociologists
Kundera again fascinates with his matter of fact, take it like it is, humorous and utterly intellectual writing style propped up, again, by the historical event that must have rattled his life experience the most: the Prague Spring Revolution of 1968. I love this book. It is thought provoking, humorous and at times arousingly-erotic. These facts fail to impede the authors ability to carry a dead serious undercurrent important to the overall experience he seeks to share in this narrative. Kundera ...more
Farhan Khalid
This book is a novel in the form of variations

The various parts follow each other like the various stages of a voyage leading into the interior of a thought, interior of a single, unique situation

Struggle of man

The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting


His connection to his life was that of a sculptor to his statue or a novelist to his novel. It is an inviolable right of a novelist to rework his novel. If the opening does not please him, he can rewr
Mahmoud Taher
May 30, 2012 Mahmoud Taher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
كتاب مجنون لكاتب مجنون يدخلك إلى عوالم غريبة مرة تراه مهتما بالتفاصيل إلى درجة الغوص فى الأعماق البشرية ومرة ترى حديثه عاما إلى درجة تشعرك بنوع من الحكمة والبصيرة تتجلى فى وصف كونديرا الرائع لبعض الأحداث التاريخية والسياسية والتى جاءت فى سياق روايته.
عندما تقرأ هذا الكتاب تشعر بأنك لا تريد أن تتوقف عن قراءته و أحيانا تتركه ولا تستطيع أن تنظر حتى إلى غلافه،مرهق جدا و ربما تكون تلك ميزته ففى كثير من الأوقات كنت تفقد الترابط الذى يميز الرواية كقالب أدبى فربما تقرأ فصلا فى اخر الرواية ثم ترجع لأولها
Feb 04, 2009 Roni rated it did not like it
Weird, weird, weird. Was hoping for quality since it was an international best seller, and who knows, maybe it was just too high-brow for me, but I didn't enjoy it. It concentrates on how communism makes people lose their humanity and become just desire-less, shallow, and brain dead. There are a lot of really uncomfortable sex scenes involving children and others in which the act is just humorous and emotion-less, not even erotic just mechanical but not for the usual reasons of boredom with a pa ...more
أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
كونديرا , الصديق اللدود ... و الماكر الذي يتقن السخرية أكثر من الحياة نفسها أحياناً , في "الليشوست" الأول الخاص به
عن الضحك و النسيان ... وبراغ , و تامينا
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 24, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
I am sure that Milan Kundera (born 1929) will someday get his Nobel prize for literature. This is my 2nd book by him and he still amused me with his Nietzsche-inspired style of writing. This book, A Book of Laughter and Forgetting in some ways foreshadows his most popular work, my first read of him, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I prefer Unbearable though because it has one plot and one or maybe two themes: that people belong to either lightness or heaviness and that we are living in an inf ...more
Mohamed Shady
"أنوى تأليف كتاب يا تامينا ، كتاب حول الحب ، نعم ، حولى وحولك ، حولنا معا ، حول يومياتنا الأكثر حميمية ، يوميات جسدينا. أجل ، أريد أن أحطم فيه كل التابوهات ، وأبوح بكل شئ ، أقول كل شئ عنى ، عن وجودى وعن كل ما أفكر فيه ، وسيكون فى الآن نفسه كتابًا سياسيًا ، كتابًا سياسيًا عن الحب ، وكتاب حبّ عن السياسة .. "
"كتاب حب حول السياسة ، أجل ، لأن العالم ينبغى أن يُخلق على مقاس الانسان ، على مقاسنا ، على مقاس جسدينا ، نعم ، لكى نستطيع يومًا أن نُقبّل بطريقة مختلفة ، وأن نحب بطريقة مختلفة .. "

يمكننا أن نص
Jun 25, 2007 Daniel rated it liked it
The first time an angel heard the devil’s laughter, he was dumbfounded. That happened at a feast in a crowded room, where the devil’s laughter, which is terribly contagious, spread from one person to another. The angel clearly understood that such laughter was directed against God and against the dignity of His works. He knew that he must react swiftly somehow, but felt weak and defenseless. Unable to come up with anything of his own, he aped adversary. Opening his mouth, he emitted broken, spas ...more
Ravi Gangwani
Oct 03, 2016 Ravi Gangwani rated it it was amazing
"The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."

“The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything....The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question. There is wisdom and tolerance in that attitude. In a world built on sacrosanct certainties the novel is dead. The totalitarian world, whether founded on Marx, Islam, or anything else, is a world of answers ra
Aug 26, 2007 Eric added it
Shelves: peteredout
I don't get it. Why all the hype? I found the characters and their situations absolutely uncompelling. I felt like I was reading a movie treatment, a sketch for a scenario. Flat, jejune. And aside from the opening image of the borrowed hat and it's disgraced, airbrushed-out lender, I found very little that was striking or poetic in the prose itself. I'm a huge fan of Kundera's non-fiction (especially Testaments Betrayed, a lyrically erudite book, with an elucidating defense of Kafka from Brod-is ...more
Khawla Al jafari
الجزء الخامس من هذا الكتاب " ليتوست " مُربِك !
فعليًّا نَحْنُ نعيشُ تحديًا كبيرًا ؛ تحدّي كتابة رواية "حقيقيّة" بعد ما كتبهُ ميلان كونديرا ..
Sep 17, 2014 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Brilliant in parts, but also messy and uneven. It is a twisting novel of lovers, sex, names, poets, poltiics, borders, history, memory, nations and being. It slides from one original idea into another like remote lovers in a well lubricated orgy of ideas. I don't know if it loses me because I loved The Unbearable Lightness of Being so much more, or if Kundera just failed to grab me by the intellectual shorthairs. I'm almost positive I would probably rate it higher if I had the chance to tease ou ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Yeliz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bir yazarla tanışma kitabı önemlidir. Bazen külliyatını hatmetmek istersin, bazen bana uymadı der, yazarla vedalaşırsın.

Çok uzatmayacağım, "Gülüşün ve unutuşun kitabı" benim için Milan Kundera külliyatını okutacak bir kitap oldu.
Aslında birbiri ile bağlantısız gibi görünen öykülerden oluşuyor, fakat bir şekilde devam ediyor hissine kapılıyorsun.

Hepsinin yeri ayrı fakat bir yer var ki...

Litost. Çekçe'ye sempati duymamı sağlayan kelime. Litost'un en azından dilimize direkt tek kelimelik bir tercü
Robert Stewart
Dec 16, 2012 Robert Stewart rated it did not like it
I'm either the victim of a terrible translation, or robbed of my igorance about the supposed brilliance of Milan Kundera's writing. Based on his reputation and the endorsement of many well-read friends, I knew I would get around to reading him one day. Well, this Harper Perennial Classics edition is rife with typesetting errors (whole paragraphs appear twice, and sometimes not consecutively, which is maddening), typos are all over the place, and I'm pretty sure this Aaron Ahser translation is th ...more
Jul 23, 2016 Sanaz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
اين كتاب رو بهمن توي سفر به تهران خريدم و بالاخره هفته اخير بعد از تمام شدن امتحانات موفق شدم بخونمش. در يك كلمه عالي بود. دوست دارم جمله هاي اين كتاب رو مرتب بنويسم كه فراموش نكنم.
كوندرا، داستان و عشق و تاريخ و فلسفه و هنر رو در يك اثر جمع كرده و معجوني به خورد شما ميده كه ممكنه تا نصفه ليوان متوجه نشيد كه چيه. اما دقيقا بعد از نيمه كتاب، از فصل متوجه داستان و هدف كتاب ميشيد و اينجا است كه عاشقش ميشيد. تمام جمله ها و قسمت هاي كتاب كه تا قبل از اين حدي شما را سردرگم كرده و حتي به نظرتون جالب
Noor Sabah
Mar 21, 2016 Noor Sabah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
" لان الحب سؤال دائم

نعم لست اجد تعريفا للحب افضل من هذا"..

اتفق معك ومع فلسفتك يا كونديرا ..
Dusty Myers
A novel written as theme-and-variations, in line with the musical genre. In seven parts, Kundera (as a very present, questioning narrator) posits various relationships among Czechs in the time of their country's ongoing fragility and strife. These relationships are often sexual, usually orgyistic. Sex is treated as a kind of performance of personal freedom and connectivity amid such national decay, even though in the end it never brings people fully together. Likewise, Kundera's seven parts don' ...more
Jun 01, 2013 Jaber rated it liked it
بداية دعونا نتفق أن هذا الكاتب مجنون , مجنون تماما , مجنون جدا
والأمر الثاني الذي اود قوله حول هذا الكتاب هو أنني أفهم السبب الذي يجعل الأحزاب اليسارية " بعضها على الأقل " تجعل من هذا الكاتب مهرطقا ومن قراءة كتاباته عملا شائنا .
ففضلا عن كونه أحد المفصولين من الحزب الشيوعي في بلاده فالرجل ناقم على الشيوعين وعلى ما فعلوه ببلاده وكما يقول المثل لم يبق لهم سترا مغطىً. وهذا أمر رائع بالنسبة لي !
عن ماذا يتحدث هذا الكتاب تحديدا ؟ هكذا سألني شقيقي فلم أعرف من أين أبدأ ! عن الغزو السوفيتي , عن الشيوعيين
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Milan Kundera is a Czech and French writer of Czech origin who has lived in exile in France since 1975, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1981. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and The Joke.

Kundera has written in both Czech and French. He revises the French translations of all his books; these therefore are not conside
More about Milan Kundera...

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“Oh lovers! be careful in those dangerous first days! once you've brought breakfast in bed you'll have to bring it forever, unless you want to be accused of lovelessness and betrayal.” 435 likes
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” 283 likes
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