Milan Kundera, „The Book of Laughter and Forgetting”, London, Faber and Faber, 2000, 312 pagini

9780571203871_lO capodoperă. Una dintre acele rare cărți care ți-ai dori să nu se termine. Cartea spune șapte povești aparent fără legătură între ele. Povestea unui disident ceh și a destinului său după înăbușirea primăverii de la Praga, povestea erotică a unui cuplu care acceptă conviețuirea într-un triunghi conjugal, a unor studente care fac o analiză absolut fantezistă a piesei „Rinocerii”, de Eugen Ionescu, a unei imigrante cehe rămasă văduvă care ar face orice să intre în posesia unor scrisori pe care le lăsase în Praga sau a unei femei de provincie care, deși era posesoarea unui soț măcelar și a unui amant mecanic auto, se îndrăgostește de un student, toate sunt prilejuri pentru a intra în straturile cele mai incomode ale psihologiei umane. Ne aflăm în fața unui roman în care Kundera își cunoaște atât de bine personajele, încât surprinde resorturile lor paradoxale, cu atât ,mai fascinante cu cât sunt mai paradoxale. Scenele erotice sunt descrise cu o senzualitate fină, ironică, elegantă, însă deloc patetică sau siropoasă. De la realism la erotic, de la erotic la suprarealism, de la suprarealism la absurd de cea mai pură factură kafkiană, toate se regăsesc în acest roman ale cărui constante rămân noțiunile care-i dau și titlul: râsul și uitarea, cu toate valențele lor mai puțin sesizabile.

Nota mea: 10

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„To see the devil as a partisan of Evil and an angel as a warrior on the side of God is to accept the demagogy of the angels. Things are of course more complicated than that. Angels are partisans not of God but of divine creation. The devil, on the other hand, is the one who refuses to grant any rational meaning to that divinely created world.” 

“That is when I understood the magical meaning of the circle. If you go away from a row, you can still come back into it. A row is an open formation. But a circle closes up, and if you go away from it, there is no way back” 

“You know what happens when two people talk. One of them speaks and the other breaks in: “It`s absolutely the same with me, I…” and starts talking about himself until the first one manages to slip back in with his own It`s absolutely the same with me, I…” 

“That conversation with the taxi driver suddenly made clear to me the essence of the writer`s occupation. We write books because our children aren`t interested in us. We address ourselves to an anonymous world because our wives plug their ears when we speak to them.” (p. 126)

“For Kristyna vaguely imagined that by giving her body to the student she would lower their affair to the butcher`s or the mechanic`s level and she would never again hear a word about Schopenhauer” (p. 164)

“Love`s absolute is actually a desire for absolute identity: the woman we love ought to swim as slowly as we do, she ought to have no past of her own to look back on happily. But when the illusion of absolute identity vanishes (the girl looks back happily on her past or swims faster), love becomes a permanent source of the great torment we call litost.” (pp. 167-168)

“Memories are scattered all over the immense world, and it takes voyaging to find them and make them leave their refuge!” (p. 229)

“Death has a double aspect: It is nonbeing. But it is also being, the terrifyingly material being a corpse. When Tamina was very young, death would appear to her only in its first form, under the aspect of nothingness, and fear of death (vague as it then was) was fear of no longer being. Over the years, that fear diminished and nearly vanished (the thought that one day she would no longer see the sky or the trees did not frighten her), but on the other hand, she reflected more and more on death`s other aspect, the material: she was terrified by the thought of becoming a corpse. It was an unbearable insult to become a corpse. One moment you are a human being protected by modesty, by the sacrosanctity of nakedness and intimacy, and then the instant of death is enough to put your body suddenly at anyone`s disposal – to undress it, to rip it open, to scrutinize its entrails, to hold one`s nose against its stench, to shove it into the freezer or into the fire” (pp. 235-236)

“Every man has two erotic biographies. The first is the one people mainly talk about, the one consisting of a list of affairs and passing amours. The other biography is undoubtedly more interesting: the procession of women we wanted to have but who eludes us, the painful history of unrealized possibilities. But there is also a third, a mysterious and disturbing category of women. These are women we liked and were liked by, but women we quickly saw we would never have, because in relation to them we were on the other side of the border.” (p. 282)

“When things are repeated, they lose a fraction of their meaning. Or more exactly, they lose, drop by drop, the vital strength that gives them the illusionary meaning. For Jan, therefore, the border is the maximum acceptable dose of repetitions.” (pp.295-296)

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