Splashconception's Reviews > The Joke

The Joke by Milan Kundera
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U 50x66
's review
Apr 06, 2011

really liked it
Read in April, 2011

This book was a delicious, emotionally scrumptious really. I did, unfortionately, almost give up on it about half-way through the book because there was a rather long character exposition about Morovian folk art and the character Jaraslov, who is a fiddle player and who I found to be the least interesting of the characters in the novel, probably because I could not relate to him on any level. But I came back to it and I am glad I did. The exploration of human nature, especially the nature of hatred, love and the crippling effects of the desire for vegenance are explored in this novel with emotional clarity. Kundera explores the destructive nature of bitterness, a justified bitterness on Ludviks part, but in the end a bitterness that offers him nothing but a life which is controlled by it. History and time are the trickster's in this novel, the undoe all deeds, deeds done by the state and deeds done by humans, in the end both are buried by the irrevocable nature of time, which eventually makes everything forgotten, or at least this seems to be Ludvik's perspective by the end of the novel.
Kundera is a master when it comes to describing the many shades and shadows that are intwined in the interplay of human emotion. I like the format of this book, where the story is interwoven between the perspectives of different characters, so that the same world is presented as three different stories, its captures the chorus of unique voices that in unison, help to describe more accurately a particular moment in time.

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