Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
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1001 Monthly Group Read > December {2018} Discussion -- THE BOOK OF LAUGHTER AND FORGETTING by Milan Kundera

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message 1: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) Discussion time!


message 2: by George P. (last edited Jan 01, 2019 08:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

George P. | 1008 comments Mod
I'm really surprised that no one has yet posted to this thread on The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. I finished the book in early December and rated it 3.5 stars in my notes.
I thought it was rather uneven, parts were excellent and it seemed to lose its way in other parts. I think it would have been a better read if it had stayed with a traditional format a little more, more like his Unbearable Lightness of Being.
There are numerous references to the oppressive nature of the government under the Soviet control- I thought that added a lot of interest to it while some might find political references boring.


Samantha Slack (samtheseahippie) | 1 comments I thought the format was it's strong point. I haven't read his other work yet and am looking forward to it. However, I thought the format helped to bring in various elements that seemed random but then pooled together well. If it had been written in a more traditional format I worry it would have limited the text.

I do agree about it being unbalanced. I found the first half to be twice as strong as the second. The second half fell to repetition and cliches with the author's interests being fully laid out instead of letting the reader come to the conclusion, as they had in the opening Lost Letters (which I found to be the strongest piece)


Amanda Dawn | 134 comments I read this book a few months ago and I have to say I agree with Samantha: I found the vignettes in the first half stronger than the second. I still like the second half, but that's why I ultimately gave the book 4 four stars instead of 5.

I also read the Unbearable Lightness of Being recently, and I feel that novel and this one as well both have this weird transcendent quality to them where they paint this very kind of bleak and heavy picture that is somehow light and happy and beautiful. And I feel like that is kind of the essence of life. I'm not sure how Kundera is so great at capturing that, but he just is (at least I feel so). The first chapter of "the angels" in this book where they talk about how life is itself happiness, even in the unexpected gross ways, I think really captures that idea.


Dina Goluza | 100 comments A book to read slowly and readily. Definitely not a book of laughter (though some parts have laughed me), and even less forget. It is written that some things do not forget. It consists of 7 stories that can even be read separately. For me it is a particularly interesting way to show the relationship between man and woman. The book is pervaded with a fine dose of eroticism.
I've read a lot of his books and he's one of my favorite authors.


Kristine (leggygal) | 52 comments While I gave this one a 5 out of 5 when I read this back in 2016 (so my memory is a little hazy), I agree with a number of the posters here that certain stories worked better than others. I do so love his writing though and ultimately that is what left me with a positive impression. My thoughts at the time were "The seven parts of the novel had varying degrees of success for me and I enjoyed the interspersing of Czech history and place with the personal dramas."


message 7: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 226 comments I had to read a Kundera book in college, but I can never remember if it was this one or The Unbearable Lightness of being. Whichever one it was, it was my least favorite assigned reading in college. I wish I could remember which one I had already read so I don't slog through it again by accident when I try to read the other!!


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