The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

With its seven interrelated parts--rich in story, character, and imaginative range--"The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1978) is the novel that brought Czech-born Milan Kundera his first big international success. Aaron Asher's new translation, commissioned and monitored by Kundera himself, conveys beautifully into English the nuances and the tone of the author's original text. " Part fairy tale, part literary criticism, part political tract, part musicology, and part autobiography" (as the New York Times described it), "The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is, above all, the wonderfully integrated stories of men and women living in a world of public oppression and private longings, a world in which history may be rewritten overnight and in which love may fall victim to either political intrusion or personal betrayal. The seven parts of Kundera's novel explore different aspects of human existence in the twentieth century, particularly as they are affected by life in the police state of the narrator's fictionalized Bohemia. In 1971, three years after the Russian occupation of his homeland, Mirek--under surveillance by the not-so-secret police--seeks to retrieve his love letters from his former lover, Zdena. Marketa and her husband, Karel, must cope with Karel's increasingly childlike mother while at the same time dealing with the amoral Eva and memories of past desires. At a small French summer school, two American girls learn the lessons of laughter. Displaced to a provincial town in Western Europe, Tamina (" all the other stories are variations on her own story" ) urgently tries to retrieve memories of her husband and their past together in Bohemia,memories recorded in notebooks that she left behind at her mother-in-law's house in Prague. And forty-five-year-old Jan prepares to cross several borders--geographical, existential, erotic--for a new life in the United States.

The 593rd greatest fiction book of all time


This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 93rd on The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time: The List (The Observer)
  2. - Donald Barthelme’s Reading List (Believer Mag)
  3. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

Buy This Book

Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Writers from the Other Europe) Paperback 755887 $5.25 $0.01 1981
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Paperback 1957649 $3.40 $0.01
By Milan Kundera: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Paperback 3321268 $16.07 $4.88 1999
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Paperback 1975911 $0.92 $0.01
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting: Revised Edition Paperback 1250990 $24.99 $1.35 1987
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. Hardcover 5092022 $15.48
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Paperback 3700626 $5.99 $2.00 1996
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Hardcover 975766 $248.79 $17.90 1980
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting: A Novel Audible Audio Edition 27019 $19.95 2012
Book of Laughter and Forgetting (King Penguin) Paperback 3450690 $159.99 $0.01 1983
The Book of Laughter & Forgetting: A Novel Hardcover 805886 $98.12 $22.99
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Paperback 87083 $12.44 $1.31 1999
Book of Laughter and Forgetting Paperback 144545 $183.52 $0.01
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Audible Audio Edition 124969 $16.14 2012