The Joke

The Joke

Author:

Paperback, Pages: 371

Genres: Fiction, European Literature, Czech Literature, Literature

Language: English

Reads: 792

Downloads: 46771

Rating: Rated: 26356 timesRate It

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Book Description

All too often, this brilliant novel of thwarted love and revenge miscarried has been read for its political implications. Now though, a quarter century after The Joke was first published, and several years after the collapse of the Soviet-imposed Czechoslovak regime, it becomes easier to put such implications into perspective in favor of valuing the book (and all Kundera s work) as what it truly is: great, stirring literature, that sheds new light on the eternal themes of human existence.

The present edition provides English-language readers an important further means toward revaluation of The Joke. For reasons he describes in his Authors Note, Milan Kundera devoted much time to creating (with the assistance of his American publisher-editor) a completely revised translation that reflects his original as closely as any translation possibly can: reflects it in its fidelity not only to the words and syntax but also to the characteristic dictions and tonalities of the novels narrators. The result is nothing less than the restoration of a classic.

Reviews
  •    Mirr Bilyou
    2020
    57th book of 2020.

    The question is this: What Friends character are you?
    The answer, for me, is always (and easily) this: Chandler Bing.
    The reason behind it: I have made a few jokes in the past that have got me in trouble. A self-destructive defence mechanism, possibly.

    So, the plot of The Joke has always interested me (not that I've ever told a joke concerning Trotsky) - and Kundera and I have had an interesting relationship. Which is what I say about a lot of writers, but there we go. I first read The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (I read it whilst walking through the Brighton Laines with my auntie, walking and reading, a talent I've perfected, if I may say so myself) and then I read Immortality. The latter has a lot of five stars, I personally know someone who adores it, but it only got 3 stars from me (you've got to be joking!). Maybe I read it at the wrong time. Maybe it really wasn't for me. Either way, The Joke is for me; it is my new favourite Kundera.

    For starters, it is more 'plot driven' than his later works. There is less 'intrusion' from the narrator/Kundera himself. In that respect, I much preferred it this way. There is still a Kundera amount of brackets (which I may or may not be reflecting in this review) (I said that in brackets, you see, it's become a joke - just not a very good one). The plot is interesting, the characters are somewhat Kundera-like, as expected, but the commentaries within this book: the Communism, love and life, and one's past were all stellar. What surprised me the most was how mature and strong this novel is despite it being Kundera's first.

    So, now I've really appreciated one of his books, I can stop reading Kundera. My job is done. I'm finished with him and I won't read another again.

    (That's a joke.)
    Reply

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