22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Rewarding and thought-provoking read...,
This review is from: The Curtain: An Essay in Seven Parts (Hardcover)
This is billed as an essay in seven parts. I don't know how true that is because an essay should have a unifying thesis. This book is more like a meditation. The subject of the meditation? Art, history, politics...but mostly the novel. The title of the book reflects the way the world comes at us pre-interpreted. It is the job of the novel to tear through this curtain and see the world in a new way (he is obviously a fan of phenomenology).
Kundera has many points to make about the novel, so it would be a disservice to try to sum them up. He asserts that tracing literature through individual countries is wrong - novelists know no nationalities. As in his own novels, Kundera is obsessed with the idea of kitsch. For him, Kitsch is the ultimate enemy of Art. I think he uses "kitsch" to mean mawkishness. I don't know if I ultimately agree with him - I appreciate some good kitsch now and again - but it is a useful concept to keep in mind when reading Kundera's novels; he is fond of humor because it is the enemy of kitsch.
He goes on in some detail about the importance of humor. Yet, I wouldn't call this a tremendously uplifting read. He is convinced that Art and the Novel are dying. In our "consumer society" we are satisfied at having the world pre-digested for us. We can only hope that he is wrong.
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Initial post: Sep 9, 2011 6:54:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 9, 2011 6:55:22 PM PDT
Kundera is a lucid writer, he is able to express the thought behind the average sentence. Sorry, that you see him mostly as a pessimist... and only on the surface.
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