Ian's Reviews > The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
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's review
Jul 08, 07

Recommended for: anyone

It has been a long time since I read this book, so when I recommended it this spring to a student I didn't think much of it. Then she quoted it in her valedictorian's speech. And then a friend of mine read it, and reminded me that it is brilliantly and exquisitely dirty. Filthy.

And I sort of felt guilty.

Kundera (rightly) gets most of his notoriety for Unbearable Lightness of Being, but I find Book of Laughter and Forgetting to be the most memorable (no pun intended). This was the book I couldn't put down (while I simply didn't want to put down his others). I love how he breaks his own narrative to tell us a different narrative. I love how we're supposed to think he is telling us the story about himself - or has he created a fictional author who is telling us a different fictional story? It's "meta" without being too grad school-ly or annoying.

But mainly, Kundera rights about concepts and ideas that thinking people experience. He forces us to question what we take for granted. He rarely makes me change - or even want to change - but he makes me think differently. And that's what makes him iconoclastic.

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