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The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  36,596 ratings  ·  1,719 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 1970's. Like all his work, it is valuable for far more than just its historical implications. In seven wonderfully integrated parts, different aspects of human existence are magnified and reduced ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by HarperPerennial Modern Classics (first published 1979)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  36,596 ratings  ·  1,719 reviews


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Jenn(ifer)
“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
...more
Mutasim Billah
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, politics, czech
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is one of the most interesting novels I've ever read, mostly due to its structure. The book is written in seven parts, each part comprising of a story written from multiple perspectives. Some of the central themes of each story are derived from semi-autobiographical accounts of Kundera's days as a political exile. Each story is vaguely connected to each other like small threads tha
...more
Fabian
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just like you've gotta travel to the city of Prague, Czech Rep. to feel it's overpoweringly Wonderland-esque vibe, you must read this novel. Its bonkers-brilliant! Phantasmagoric originality like 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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
294. Kniha smíchu a zapomnění = The Book of Laughter And Forgetting, Milan Kundera
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is a novel by Milan Kundera, published in France in 1979. It is composed of seven separate narratives united by some common themes. The book considers the nature of forgetting as it occurs in history, politics and life in general. The stories also contain elements found in the genre of magic realism. Plot summary: Part One: Lost Letters. Part Two: Mama. Part Three: The Angels. Pa
...more
Martha
Aug 11, 2007 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
İntellecta
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Das Buch vom Lachen und Vergessen" by Milan Kundera is a novel consisting of Seven Short Stories. gradually does one come to the conclusion that all stories together make a big whole. A look that is worthwhile, of course. In grandiose, exceedingly intelligent stories Kundera describes with a lot of wit about the different meanings of laughter and oblivion, love and eroticism, politics and homeland.
The fifth short story is titled Litost:
Litost is a Czech term that describes another important topi
...more
Mohammed-Makram
نحن جميعا أسرى تصور مسكوك عما هو مهم و ما ليس كذلك. إذ نركز نظرنا القلق على المهم بينما خِفية يشن التافه من وراء ظهورنا حربه التي ستغير العالم بعمق و تنقض علينا في غفلة منا.
هذا الكتاب غريب عجيب و مريب أيضا. عالم كونديرا هو عالم متميز لا شك في ذلك فهو يخلط الجد بالهزل و الفلسفة بالبساطة و السياسة بالفن بالتاريخ باللهو بالعبث و يأخذك في رحلات طويلة ثم يعود بك مرة أخرى إلى نقطة البداية دون أن تدري فيما ذهبت و لمَ رجعت.

هو كتاب أقرب للرواية ينقسم إلى سبعة أجزاء. هذا الرقم السحري الذي يخفي آلاف الأس
...more
Manny
Oct 15, 2009 rated it liked it
It was funny, but I can't remember why.

[This is actually true, sad to tell]
Sidharth Vardhan
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: list-1001, europe

“...because love is continual interrogation. I don't know of a better definition of love.”

This won’t be the Kundera book I would recommend to a reader new to him. Not that it is bad – it still has all the interesting psychology (he dislikes the word), philosophy (he dislikes that too) and sex (… Well, he is a man.); the trouble with this book is it is too much into Kunderism. The good thing about him is he never beats around the bush. It is as if he knows what he has show and only tells parts
...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
Whitaker
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
PREFACE:

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
...more
Chris_P
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
...more
Ahmed Ibrahim
“نضال الإنسان ضد السلطة هو نضال الذاكرة ضد النسيان"

كونديرا يقع خارج دائرة المألوف بالنسبة للأدب، أدبه يحمل المعنى الحقيقي للأدب لكن القالب مختلف تماما عن القوالب الاعتيادية، وفي نظري أن تحقيق المعنى أهم من التسمية الظاهرية. كونديرا واحد من أهم الأدباء في تاريخ الأدب، تعقُّد الشخصية في أعماله تُدرس.
في هذه الرواية تدور القصص حول محور واحد، والحقيقة أن القارئ لكونديرا يدرك أن المحاور الرئيسية في أعماله كلها واحدة.
منذ فترة طويلة أكتب عن كونديرا، الكتابة عنه أمر مرهق لكنه ممتع.
Nahed.E

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
...more
David
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook, fiction
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
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
...more
Dina Nabil
Feb 01, 2016 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
...more
Hafsa
...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
...more
Perry
Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too Much Authorial Touching

3.5 stars. I'm aware this is a philosophical novel of ideas that significantly and laudably criticized the Czech communist regime then in power and resulted in that government's revoking Kundera's citizenship.

Nonetheless, I cannot in good conscience give a novel 4 or 5 stars on that basis when I dislike the type of author interactivity in a work of fiction that pervades this "novel." That is to say, I have a hard time reading as a story, i.e., enjoying or being vivifie
...more
Roni
Feb 04, 2009 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
Grazia
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Variazioni sul tema

Credo che nella vita spesse volte ciascuno di noi abbia sperimentato la sensazione o lo stato d'animo legato ad una situazione che ci pone su un filo. Come si ci fosse un sottile confine su cui ci muoviamo, tale per cui un piccolo impercettibile spostamento fa mutare una situazione da drammatica a ridicola, da importante a inconsistente, da emozionante a grottesca, da paurosa a surreale.

Basta una parola a far crollare la tensione, una parola che ci fa dare una lettura completa
...more
Khashayar Mohammadi
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kundera was my first ever literary hero. He was the very first writer I actively sought and worshiped. His titanic stature in my adolescence made me reluctant to re-read his works as an adult, and I gotta admit re-reading this book in my twenties was a strange experience. I'm still enchanted by his unparalleled psychological incisiveness and para-philosophical escapades, but I just don't find him to be the behemoth he once was in my eyes.

Having read this a second time, I'm more confused than imp
...more
Giuseppe
Dec 25, 2007 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
Ravi Gangwani
Jun 24, 2016 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
...more
Darwin8u
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 04, 2010 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
Mahmoud Taher
May 18, 2012 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
...more
Eric
Aug 26, 2007 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
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11,606 followers
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 for 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 considered translati
...more
“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.” 482 likes
“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” 344 likes
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