Roger Scruton

Un Ange Passe

The Festival of Insignificance

By Milan Kundera (Translated by Linda Asher)

Faber & Faber 115pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Milan Kundera writes in French nowadays, and the people he writes about are as French as the language used to describe them. But he has not lost the whimsical Czech sensibility of his earlier works. His characters are still uncertain as to why they exist or whether it was entirely fair of their author to invent them. Kundera is one of those modern writers – Beckett is another – whose protagonists are not really detachable from the words on the page. They flicker on the paper like shadows cast by the syntax. They live in dreams of their own, and their interest lies not in what they do but in what they might have done had their creator offered them a story.

Kundera has an inimitable lightness of touch; he avoids literary effect and respects the residues of meaning that accumulate in ordinary things. These features of his style succeed somehow in persuading the reader that his characters are true to the strange but harmless emptiness of the world we live in now. The Festival of Insignificance announces this theme in its title.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • To press, to press, to grind out a magazine!,
    • Jacob Cockcroft investigates 'the cults' that Uber and Airbnb have created. ,
    • Susanna Forrest reviews Raulff's 'epic enterprise' on man's faltering relationship with the horse. ,
    • Curses! We're in demand ,
    • RT : Can't believe my beautiful bundle of @Lit_Review|s I've seen grow from scratch will soon become five! Time flies &… ,
    • Weekend read 2: Alan Judd reviews 'M: Maxwell Knight, MI5’s Greatest Spymaster' by ,
    • If you're at @britishacademy's Literature Week, look out a for a free copy of the magazine, too.,