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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


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