Saturday, 19 September 2015

Milan Kundera's "The Festival of Insignificance"

While this reflection may seem completely arbitrary and redundant, I wanted nonetheless to express that reading Milan Kundera reminds me how much I enjoy reading Milan Kundera. I've just finished his most recent novel "The Festival of Insignificance". Through his use of language, his addresses to his readers and the circles he creates in his narratives, I was brought back to a younger me, reading "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" in high school and feeling completely blown away by it, thinking and feeling, this is what its all about, these words.

In "The Festival of Insignificance", Kundera's characters are at once together, whole, and at the same time completely all over the place, confused and scattered, their thoughts skipping from their mothers to the navel as the most contemporary locus of female sexuality and seduction, joining the previously acknowledged and adored thighs, buttocks and breasts.

While the novel does not really attend to the perspective of any of the female characters, which in fact, are all side characters and exist in relation to the sexual interest of and preoccupation by their male admirers, the male friends are entertaining to the reader and delightful to the women characters. I was particularly charmed by Caliban, who invents words to a language he designates to others as Pakistani in other to maintain his own comfort zone as he waits on elegant upperclass parties. Through his language and his "inability" to communicate in French with another waitress (Portuguese), he manages somehow to draw her to him. The appeal for her is that she believes he can't understand her, and as she hates speaking French, they communicate through her Portuguese and his invented Pakistani. All in all, I am once again tickled by Kundera's lightness, his heaviness, his insignificance, his significance. 

No comments:

Post a Comment