Juan-Pablo's Reviews > La lenteur

La lenteur by Milan Kundera
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Sep 25, 11

Read in September, 2011

Title: A poetic sketch on the resonance of memory in life and society


The composer Olivier Messiaen developed a theory of the interaction of memory and speed in some of his music. A gross simplification is that the more things “happen” in a certain amount of time in our life, the faster it seems to go. When we later remember those events, however, they seem longer compared to less active stages in our lives.

Kundera resonances of memory and speed compose the core of this little book. It reads like a sketch with several ramifications, much like memory works. Some are funny, others are tragic, but most are not completely defined. Some critics have pointed out that Slowness seems an unfinished work. It’s true that nothing is fully developed in the novel, but I think that is precisely what makes it a really interesting essay on memory and the speed of life.

There are memorable vignettes and flashbacks (the Czech entomologist, the pool scene, and others) all during an evening in a French château, making this work a great little narrative as well. Although not one of Kundera’s major works, it is definitely a great piece of literature.
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