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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Ignorance (2000) by Milan Kundera


Book Review
Ignorance (2000)
by Milan Kundera

 Ignorance is the fourth Kundera title on the original 1001 Books list, the first since The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) and it gives Kundera one book in every decade except the 1990's.  The other two are The Joke (1967) and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979).   Similar to his other books, Ignorance deals with the impact of Communism on the residents of the Czech Republic (then Czechslovakia) and the various decisions people made.  Here, the narrator is a female emigre, returning for the first time after the fall of Communism, where she hooks up with an old flame after a random encounter.   The punchline is that her partner doesn't remember who she is.  I mean, it's not a punchline, like all Kundera novels, the plot takes  a back seat to the solo philosophizing of your typical Kundera protagonist.

  I would say Kundera is over-represented on the first list.  I would give him two books, The Joke and The Unbearable Lightness of Being and cut the other two.  How much European existentialism do we need?  Just watch The Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders and you've pretty much got it.

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