"It is hard to imagine anything more chilling and profound than Kundera's apparent lightheartedness."'Elizabeth PochodaIN this dark farce of a novel, set in an old-fashioned Central Euroepean spa town, eight characters are swept up in an ...
accelerating dance: a pretty nurse and her repairman boyfriend; an oddball gynecologist; a rich Amrican (at once saint and Don Juan); a popular trumpeter and his beautiful, obsessively jealous wife; an unillusioned former political prisoner about to leave his country and his young woman ward.Perhaps the most brilliantly plotted and sheerly entertaining of Milan Kundera's novels, Farewell Waltz poses the most serious questions with a blasphemous lightness that makes us see that the modern world has deprived us even of the right to tragedy.Written in Bohemia in 1969-70, this book was first published (in 1976) in France under the title La valse aux adieux (Farewell Waltz), and later in thirty-four other countries. This beautiful new translation, made from the French text prepared by the novelist himself, fully reflects his own tone and intentions. As such it offers an opportunity for both the discovery and the rediscovery of one of the very best of a great writer's works."Kundera remains faithful to this subtle, wily, devious talent for a fiction of `erotic possibilities.' "'New York Times Book Review"Farewell Waltz shocks. Black humor. Farcical ferocity. Admirably tender portraits of women." 'Le Point (Paris)"After Farewell Waltz there cannot be any doubt. Kundera is a master of contemporary literature. This novel is both an example of virtuosity and a descent into the human soul."'L'Unit, (Paris)
"In this country people don't respect the morning. An alarm clock violently wakes them up, shatters their sleep like the blow of an ax, and they immediately surrender themselves to deadly haste. Can you tell me what kind of day can follow a
..."w a beginning of such violence? What happens to people whose alarm clock daily gives them a small electric shock? Each day they become more used to violence and less used to pleasure. Believe me, it's the mornings that determine a man's character."
"Even painful memories are ties that bind"
"[...] she was hurt by it, and, as you know, love often takes on the features of hate. I went to prison with the strange sensation of having been led there by love. It is not wonderful to find oneself in the hands of the Gestapo and to realize that this, in fact, is the privilege of a man who is loved too much?" Jakub replied: "Something that always utterly disgust me about mankind is seeing how its cruelty, its baseness, and its stupidity manage to wear the lyrical mask. She sends you to death, and she experiences it as a romantic feat of wounded love. And you mount the scaffold because of an ordinary narrow-minded woman, feeling that you are playing a role in a tragedy Shakespeare wrote for you."
Old men are recognizable by their habit of bragging about past sufferings and making a museum of them (ah, these sad museums have so few visitors!).
I started reading this book by Kundera with the certainty that it would keep constantly my eyes on it until I finished reading. Actually, I was right to think so. But I cannot say that I am satisfied. By page 82 I disliked all the male characters who had appeared and I thought all female characters shallow and a bit dumb. Moreover, I found some thoughts which were not credible at all, and seemed to be driven only by the need of fill the longing to what would happen. I once started to write a short novel, it was supposed to be a love story. But, as long as I hadn't been in love for a long time, I had to force myself into romance. At a certain point I wrote such a pathetic sentence, which sounded so fake, that I stopped with a shut-up-this-shit reaction. I don't want to compare myself to Kundera, of course, since I have no ambition to become a writer, nor I want to deny his talent, but I found at least a couple of shut-up-this-shit moments in this novel (and they're not the quotations I took).Continua...Nascondi
The characters are great though I didn't like Ruzena very much. Touching on topics like infidelity, betrayal and politics, Kundera once again shows he's a literary genius. The twist in the plot was also really surprising and interesting.
We were friends. And nothing was more important to him than to vote for my arrest. This proved that he placed ideals above friendship. When he denounced me as a traitor to the revolution, he felt that he was suppressing his personal interests for
... the sake of something more sublime, and he experienced it as the great act of his life.Continua...Nascondi
But this woman had sprung up before him suddenly, separate from all that, separate from his life, she had come from outside, she had appeared to him, appeared not only as a beautiful woman but as beauty itself, sand she proclaimed to him that one
... could live here in a different way and for something different, that beauty is more than justice, that beauty is more than truth, that it is more real, more indisputable, and also more accessible, that beauty is superior to everything else and that it was now permanently lost to him.Continua...Nascondi
Even though Ruzena was in love with the trumpeter, Frantisek meant a great deal to her. He and Klima formed an inseparable pair. One embodied the everyday, the other a dream; one wanted her, the other did not want her; from one she wanted to escape,
... the other she desired. Each of the two men determined the meaning of the other's existence.Continua...Nascondi
Nothing absorbs a human being more completely than jealousy. When Kamila lost her mother a year earlier, it was certainly and event more tragic than one of the trumpeter's escapades. And yet the death of her mother, whom she loved immensely, caused
... her less pain. The pain of her grief was benignly multicolored: there was sadness in it, and longing, emotion, regret (had Kamila taken sufficient care of her mother? had she neglected her?), even a serene smile. That pain was benignly dispersed in a all directions: Kamila's thoughts rebounded from her mother's coffin and flew off toward memories, toward her own childhood and, still further, toward her mother's childhood, they flew off toward dozens of practical concerns, they flew off toward the future, which was wide open and where, as consolation (yes, in those exceptional days her husband was her consolation), Klima's figure stood outlined.Continua...Nascondi