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Slowness (1995)

by Milan Kundera

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,273306,924 (3.55)11
After the gravity of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Immortality, Slowness comes as a surprise: it is certainly Kundera's lightest novel, a divertimento, an opera buffa, with, as the author himself says, "not a single serious word in it"; then, too, it is the first of his novels to have been written in French (in the eyes of the French public, turning him definitively into a "French writer"). Disconcerted and enchanted, the reader follows the narrator of Slowness through a midsummer's night in which two tales of seduction, separated by more than two hundred years, interweave and oscillate between the sublime and the comic. In the eighteenth-century narrative, the marvelous Madame de T. summons a young nobleman to her chateau one evening and gives him an unforgettable lesson in the art of seduction and the pleasures of love.In the same chateau at the end of the twentieth century, a hapless young intellectual experiences a rather less successful night. Distracted by his desire to be the center of public attention at a convention of entomologists, Vincent loses the beautiful Julie - ready and willing though she is to share an evening of intimacy and sexual pleasure with him - and suffers the ridicule of his peers. A "morning-after" encounter between the two young men from different centuries brings the novel to a poignant close: Vincent has already obliterated the memory of his humiliation as he prepares to speed back to Paris on his motorcycle, while the young nobleman will lie back on the cushions of his carriage and relive the night before in the lingering pleasure of memory.… (more)
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» See also 11 mentions

English (21)  Spanish (3)  Finnish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Short, strange but compelling book with the focus on savoring that which is slow while containing some vignettes that are interesting but not clearly related to the focus. ( )
  RickGeissal | Aug 16, 2023 |
It's been some time since I read this, and I don't recall any details. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 13, 2023 |
8483106582
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
Kundera wonders why we are always in a hurry. Don't we know that real pleasure is achieved only slowly. He explores our need to rush and our belief that the faster we reach ecstasy the better. As far as he is concerned nothing could be farther from the truth. He makes this point eloquently by exploring Les Liaisons dangereuses. His central character suddenly is in that time and place, Seventeenth century France, and wandering through a chateau with Madame de T as they slowly proceed through stages eventually spending the night together. But we are brought back to modern France and see Czech emigrees as they attend to a conference of entomologists. As they explore dancers who want everyone's attention and seek alternatives such as throwing off their clothes and swimming naked in a pool with lots of onlookers some of whom choose to jump in with other intentions. By this point Kundera's thoughts and imaginations are on full display as he takes us through erotic adventures. What is lost in the process is the original focus, slowness. Eventually characters from the Seventeenth show up in the present. We're not sure if the central character is dreaming or perhaps we are. Pure Kundera. Written in French with passages where we wonder whether Kundera is slowing this down to find just the right word in what is not his native tongue ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Mar 26, 2022 |
Muy interesante fantasía.
  franhuer | Aug 15, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Dieses kleine Buch ist ein langer Seufzer. Aber was unternimmt Milan Kundera nicht alles, um diesen Seufzer zu maskieren. "Die Langsamkeit" ist Medienschelte und Kulturkritik [...]. Das alles ist nicht falsch, und so könnte der Leser zerstreut, aber beifällig mit dem Kopf nicken und sich mit großer Geschwindigkeit einem besseren Buch zuwenden.
 
Der Kult der Langsamkeit – Milan Kundera hat eine verlorene Tugend wiederentdeckt
added by chwiggy | editFocus, Jakob Osten (Aug 14, 1995)
 

» Add other authors (57 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Milan Kunderaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Asher, LindaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moura, Beatriz desecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suni, AnnikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We suddenly had the urge to spend the evening and night in a chateau.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

After the gravity of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and Immortality, Slowness comes as a surprise: it is certainly Kundera's lightest novel, a divertimento, an opera buffa, with, as the author himself says, "not a single serious word in it"; then, too, it is the first of his novels to have been written in French (in the eyes of the French public, turning him definitively into a "French writer"). Disconcerted and enchanted, the reader follows the narrator of Slowness through a midsummer's night in which two tales of seduction, separated by more than two hundred years, interweave and oscillate between the sublime and the comic. In the eighteenth-century narrative, the marvelous Madame de T. summons a young nobleman to her chateau one evening and gives him an unforgettable lesson in the art of seduction and the pleasures of love.In the same chateau at the end of the twentieth century, a hapless young intellectual experiences a rather less successful night. Distracted by his desire to be the center of public attention at a convention of entomologists, Vincent loses the beautiful Julie - ready and willing though she is to share an evening of intimacy and sexual pleasure with him - and suffers the ridicule of his peers. A "morning-after" encounter between the two young men from different centuries brings the novel to a poignant close: Vincent has already obliterated the memory of his humiliation as he prepares to speed back to Paris on his motorcycle, while the young nobleman will lie back on the cushions of his carriage and relive the night before in the lingering pleasure of memory.

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