Skip to main content

Immortality by Milan Kundera: A book review

ImmortalityImmortality by Milan Kundera
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. The premise is great, where a writer witnesses a playful, sexual yet sweet physical gesture of a woman by the swimming pool. He weaves a story around her starting with the gesture. He slowly introduces other characters that are part of her life and compares her life in the 20th century with another one a century earlier. It is an interesting perspective on what immortality is. What do people remember you for? Is it the work that you do in your lifetime? Or, is it the perception that others have of you? Are you remembered only by your loved ones or are you revered or scorned by the entire world? These are questions that will definitely get you thinking. I liked how Kundera slips in new characters silently and slowly they grow over you and right when you want to know more, he moves on leaving you hanging until bringing it up randomly somewhere else in some other context. That does keep you engrossed, but it also frustrates you. And, that is why you don't warm up to any of them. You don't empathize with any of the characters because he does not keep you with any of them long enough. And, in the end, you have more questions than answers. This is a kind of novel I can only read once in a while. If you like more questions than answers, if you like the authors jumping between characters and never explaining their actions, then this is the kind of novel for you. Else, I would suggest that you skip it or give it a try but not expect much.

xxRS


View all my reviews

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Advocating for science

A country's expenditure on research and the attitudes of its citizens towards science and technology are one of the leading parameters of development of a country. India spends about 0.65 % of its GDP (world bank data for 2015) on research and development, a number that has not changed much in two decades. The Indian educational system too on the other hand does not help in creating scientific temperament. The education is mostly a means to secure a job, any job, however far removed it might be from the field you've studied. 
These issues are even more apparent when you interact with people not related to the field. There is a lack of curiosity about science even among educated people. In fact, some are also of the view that it is a waste of the taxpayer's money. They go so far as to complain about the fact that their tax money is being used to fund PhD scholarships of students in Indian institutions. This, when the government's own defense and space research related …

Can you ever question your belief in God?

Your religion is decided for you based on the family you're born into almost immediately after your birth. This is further reinforced during your childhood with the various customs and rituals that you're part of, each one involving prayers to a higher being. Then, it is no surprise that you get brainwashed into believing in God. After all, it is the biggest fantasy or myth that your parents and your community have indulged in and have made you a part of, so much so, that it becomes part of your identity. Later when you experience more of the world, learn more science, see more sense in logic than unfounded beliefs, you start to question the existence of God. You notice how the fallacy of the religious belief begs the question that if God created man, who created God? You probably have already imbibed so much of the belief both consciously and sub-consciously that any loss in this faith comes across to you as a desertion of your own identity. How then can you ever break away …

Nature gives us no choice...

The breaking news story in the world of sports right now is the one about Serena Williams announcing her pregnancy. And while this is probably good news, it is not something her fans look forward to. I'm sure it must have been a huge decision for her and something that she must be coming to terms with even now as I write this. The pregnancy means that Serena Williams, the best women's tennis player ever in the open era, who is still at her prime and has just won the Australian Open 2017 will now miss the rest of the season this year. How unfair is that! Why does she have to choose between being a mother and playing tennis when her male counterparts just go through parenthood with a breeze. They never ever have to sit out, never have to make such life changing decisions, never have to contemplate and plan their return to tennis after the birth of their child. 
It is just frustrating that the likes of Djokovic and Federer have been at their prime winning titles with fatherhood …