Monday, March 5, 2007

BOOK: Ignorance by Milan Kundera

I read this book for my Reading Across Borders Challenge. Ignorance is set in France and Czech and written by Milan Kundera, who also wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being. This was my first book of his and I quite enjoyed it.

Following the story of Odyssey, Ignorance follows the return of two people to their Czech homeland after the fall of Communism. I thought it could have been called Memory or Nostalgia because he delves into those themes and I liked that aspect of the story better.

From the cover: We always believe that our memories coincide with those of the person we loved, that we experienced the same thing. But this is just an illusion. [Memory] records only "an insignificant , miniscule particle" of the past "and no one knows why it's this bit and not any other bit." I've been thinking about this lately, how in a family we all have different memories, but we think everyone remembers the same incident or event the same. But we each bring our own perspective to our memory.

I really enjoyed the book, the snippets of life he showed that I identified with, and the larger themes of memory, ignorance, and family he tackled. The story was told in third person, but the third person interupted now and then to comment, or add an aside (a mystery: how is it that women not listening to one another can laugh at what the others are saying?). I would certainly be interested in reading other books by Kundera