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La Inmortalidad by Milan Kundera
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La Inmortalidad (original 1990; edition 2002)

by Milan Kundera

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3,251261,704 (3.98)16
Member:biblimur
Title:La Inmortalidad
Authors:Milan Kundera
Info:Tusquets Editor (2002), P
Collections:Narrativa y literatura, Favorites
Rating:***
Tags:narrativa, novelas, favoritos

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Immortality by Milan Kundera (1990)

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English (21)  Hebrew (2)  French (1)  Russian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (26)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Having enjoyed some of Kundera's books before and with a friend's recommendations in my ear I started on this. Great disappointment. A bitty hotchpotch of scenes with Goethe and photographers, Napoleon meeting Goethe, Goethe doing sleazy stuff with young girl, Goethe meeting Hemingway in heaven (for goodness sake!) interspersed with a bunch of parisian bourgeois of no particular interest and empty musings on the image in modern society. Life is too short for "Immortality" ( )
  vguy | Aug 15, 2014 |
This is one of those books which, while I have to admit I'm sure I don't really understand most of what it is about, I "resonate" with it intensely. I enjoy Kundera's writing style immensely. I like the way he throws many scenes and ideas at me and trusts me to think deeply about the complex relationships he's presenting, without telling me exactly what conclusions I should draw from them. For how he impacts my mind, I would "rank" him with Tolstoy and with Iris Murdock. What I like best about Kundera's books is that they make me think and with a feeling that thinking and questioning is important; I feel more alive, and I feel it is not only worthwhile being me (existing, and expressing Being in my particular way), but it is also essential to my being that I think about the story of my life and that I choose to further that "story" and contribute to it. I think this is my response particularly to Kundera's "Immortality" because one of the things he's writing "about" is the intersections of "fact" and "fiction.". The fact that he makes himself one of his characters in the novel is the main catalyst for my contemplating the story of my life in this particular way. Like I said, I don't claim to understand everything Kundera is writing "about.". If there are others out there who read this review and have read many of Kundera's books, I would enjoy reading your reflections on his writing and/or learning of any helpful study guides on Kundera, particularly regarding the themes addressed in "Immortality." ( )
  CarlisleMLH | May 29, 2014 |
Read in two halves, two months apart. In February I was quite intensely irritated, and marked the book two stars... You know those reviews of Nausea and L'Étranger, in which people say the likes of "I used to think this way when I was younger, but it's a bit shit"? (c.f. Hanif Kureishi: "The cruellest thing you can do to Kerouac is re-read him at 38.") I still appreciate those books, but this one looked like my equivalent. I wasn't a teenage existentialist but I was a teenage narcissist, and Kundera's Immortality seemed to be preaching as wisdom a whole bunch of thoughts which I've gone to considerable and repeated effort to talk myself out of. I suspected myself of being too dismissive and normative towards the book, (also Caliban, mirrors, etc, and yeah this post is a bit mememe) but I simply didn't like the way it made me feel, and what it reminded me of. With its narrative concentrating on the self-designed outward actions of characters as if describing scenes from a film (or teenage / twentysomething self-narration). Mostly surfaces, dull ones at that, interspersed with a few self-consciously Interesting Thoughts, the kind some people would put on an online profile. And also C19th hangers-on of the famous who did what they did primarily because they wanted to be remembered. A lot of it seemed relevant to the social media era - paradoxically: I had this book because it was recommended years ago by someone who's very reclusive and never uses social networks.

However. In the third quarter of the novel Kundera critiques the narcissercising, and displays a lot of empathy with the underlying motivations of the characters doing it. So the book became somewhat different from my first assumption.

Overall it was a metafictional / anti-novel patchwork thing that was only patchily engaging. Authorial presence interweaved with the characters and their story, whilst doing lots of fine dining, like 1980s Martin Amis turned up to 11. (Immortality was published in 1991, so yeah...) The story of a Parisian professional couple, chilly Agnes and laid-back Paul, and Agnes' melodramatic sister Laura - classic French-film triangle - is punctuated by philosophical reflections on human nature, social behaviour &c, accounts of the Kundera-character's eccentric mates, and the history of Goethe-groupie and eventual woman-of-letters in her own right Bettina von Arnim. The most pointless bit was a 70-odd page survey of the pulling career of a mid-twentieth-century art critic named Rubens; I liked and recognised occasional musings on how people inwardly mark the passing of time, but most of it was nothing I hadn't seen before in a couple of dozen litfic works. Anyway, just about everyone in this sprawl-on-a-theme turns out to be connected by butterflies' wings and tornados.

I remain slightly puzzled by the quote on the front cover from Nicholas Lezard:'It will make you cleverer, maybe even a better lover. Not many novels can do that.' (It was good to learn about Bettina von Arnim and her circle, but the rest was a mix of meh and confirmation of things I'd heard before.) I'd be a little embarrassed by the assumption I agreed with everything I posted three years ago... who knows what someone thinks of stuff they wrote over two decades past, and of it still being used to sell books?

Glad to put this book away now - almost every time I saw the title, The Fall song would appear in my head, and I was getting pretty tired of it. ( )
  antonomasia | Apr 26, 2014 |
It has just a little bit of plot and a smidgen of character underneath a great deal of philosophy, so it's definitely not for everyone. But I found it entertaining and surprising, even the parts where I felt completely lost in the ramblings and grotesqueries the author includes quite self-consciously. ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
oh boy...i just don't know what's going on in my head after reading this. granted, i stayed up way too late last night to finish it. it feels to me like a book that should be read in as few sessions as possible, to stay in its groove. it took me a long time to get my footing with this novel because i don't know that, traditionally, it really is a novel. i read the back description on my book to make sure - at a couple of points during the read - that yes, the word 'novel' was, in fact, used to describe the book. heh. sure, there is a good part of it that could be pulled out and called 'novel', but then there are also these philosophical arguments being put forth at the same time. tie in the meta aspect of the book and, well, i ended up not loving it. which made me sad because i love kundera. and i love meta-fiction. i had a tonne of fun imagining hemingway and goethe together, that was a hoot. but when the philosophical narratives began, i felt like it was too obvious - like kundera was hitting me over the head with it. it also didn't make for seamless transitions so i felt jarred out of the reading each time there was a shift. overall there are some really interesting ideas in the book - of course there are!!! i just am not thrilled with the structure of how it was all delivered.

though i am still suffering from a bolañover, so that could definitely be impacting my feelings of kundera at this moment. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Sep 20, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Milan Kunderaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beranová, JanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zgustová, MonikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The woman might have been sixty or sixty-five.
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"Journalists realized that posing questions was not merely a practical working method for the reporter modestly gathering information with notebook and pencil in hand; it was a means of exerting power. The journalist is not merely the one who asks questions but the one who has a sacred right to ask anyone about anything."
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Original title: Nesmrtelnost
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060932384, Paperback)

Milan Kundera's sixth novel springs from a casual gesture of a woman to her swimming instructor, a gesture that creates a character in the mind of a writer named Kundera. Like Flaubert's Emma or Tolstoy's Anna, Kundera's Agnès becomes an object of fascination, of indefinable longing. From that character springs a novel, a gesture of the imagination that both embodies and articulates Milan Kundera's supreme mastery of the novel and its purpose: to explore thoroughly the great themes of existence.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:45 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Milan Kundera, with his survey of human nature, is still attempting to discover the meaning of life. Famous figures from the past and present emerge to ponder and debate life, immortality, art and culture.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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