Read La Broma by Milan Kundera Free Online
Book Title: La Broma|
ISBN 13: 9788432216282
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 728 KB
The author of the book: Milan Kundera
Edition: Editorial Seix Barral
Date of issue: July 1st 2002
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2090 times
Reader ratings: 7.6
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On Monday at around 3 o'clock in the afternoon I decided I was going to read "The Joke." I don't really know why; it occurred to me out of the blue -- the only thought I'd ever given Kundera before that point was that the titles of his books obviously lived in a world devoid of irony in order to persist in their existence, and that that unironic world was one I wanted no part of. On the other hand, I really liked the title "The Joke" and I'd always liked the font in which it was written. That was about all I needed, so I took the train over to the Strand and picked up their only copy (Shhh -- it was fate!).
Anyway, now it's about 1:30 AM on Wednesday and I just finished the book, so I'm having a Moment. Luckily, the pensive/sad confusion I was left with upon finishing the book had worked itself out in my head even before I'd finished spreading jam on my Post-Reading Biscuit (not an allegory, I actually did just eat a biscuit): "The Joke" is basically about that moment when you realize that the past has just caught up with you/resolved itself/tortured you for far longer than it needed.
It reminds me of this time a few years ago when I started sobbing over old photos of myself as a little kid one night while I was at my parents' house. I sort of ended up burying my head in my mother's lap and she said something shockingly insightful, just about the most shockingly insightful thing she's ever said to me -- that sometimes we feel sad about the past just because we can't get it back, and that's okay. The implication -- which was clear then but I've lost in the re-telling -- was that even the parts of the past that aren't all that significant are overwhelmingly ultimate in their "lost-ness" with the passage of time, and the shock of that can often be kind of crushing, but our reaction to that (in my case, sobbing and snotting all over my mother's lap and afghan) is totally human and completely all right.
It's weird I remember that, because "The Joke" is actually not about inconsequential parts of the past. It's about the earth-shattering bits that shape a person (for better or worse), as well as the slow, creeping dissatisfaction of regret. This is probably what most first novels are about, because why else would a beginning writer finally commit all those words to paper for the first time if they weren't plagued by something they wanted to release, i.e. themselves from i.e. the past?
Right. So probably most first novels are about this, but "The Joke" pretends to be about a lot of other things before that, which is its trick. It relaxes you with detached and dated political analysis and historical references and discussions of music and quirky post-modern unreliable narrators and Wuthering Heights-esque generation-spanning love.
But in the last fifty pages or so it starts twisting and revealing itself, almost clumsily, and by the end you realize it's so freaking obvious! No wonder that for the past two days you've inexplicably been thinking about the sadnesses of your own life and your past relationships and people you know who've died. And no wonder you're sitting up in the middle of the night writing a confessional missive on the internet wankfest that is Goodreads. That's ALL THAT FREAKING BOOK WAS ABOUT! And you can't even tell what part of what you're thinking is something that happened in the book and what part is something that happened to you.
Anyway. The other thing is that there aren't any actual jokes in it. And maybe I was at my most pure when I was seventeen. The End.
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Read information about the authorMilan Kundera is a Czech and French writer of Czech origin who has lived in exile in France since 1975, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1981. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and The Joke.
Kundera has written in both Czech and French. He revises the French translations of all his books; these therefore are not considered translations but original works.
Due to censorship by the Communist government of Czechoslovakia, his books were banned from his native country, and that remained the case until the downfall of this government in the Velvet Revolution in 1989.
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