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The Festival of Insignificance: A Novel Audiobook, by Milan Kundera Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Milan Kundera Narrator: Richmond Hoxie Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2015 ISBN: 9780062406361
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From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, an unexpected and enchanting novel—the culmination of his life's work.

Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism—that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Milan Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the “unserious” in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband: “you’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it…I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.”

Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There is a timeless quality to his philosophy about the importance of laughter…Kundera is still the powerful and incisive writer he always was.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An entertaining divertissement, a lightly comic fiction blending Gallic theorizing and Russian-style absurdity.”

    Washington Post

  • “Stunningly profound…a late-career confection…beautifully expressing the junk and clutter of the modern world.”

    NPR

  • “Forgotten tyrants and blatant belly buttons have equally playful roles in this deceptively slight, whimsically thoughtful tale of a few men in Paris.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Stylistically and thematically, it’s classic Kundera: polyphonic, digressive, intellectual yet anti-philosophical, deliberately strange, and aggressively light. And his descriptions are as beautiful as ever.”

    Booklist

  • “Many listeners may be familiar with the the abstract, somewhat philosophical nature of Kundera’s work. While the multiple levels of meaning in this one should come as no surprise, Richmond Hoxie’s delivery is, nonetheless, pleasantly enlightening. He provides the patience and care the story requires if its lasting meaning is to be revealed as he speaks artfully, with steady enthusiasm and a clear appreciation for the words. The irony of D’Ardelo’s inability to ask out an attractive woman because he’s using a fake cancer scare as a way to judge how important he is to his friends is blissfully performed by Hoxie. Other equally ridiculous (and poignant) moments are also made memorable by his ability to emote clearly.”

    AudioFile

  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About the Author

Milan Kundera, the Franco-Czech novelist, was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, for more than twenty years. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Life Is Elsewhere, The Farewell Party, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, as well as the short story collection Laughable Loves—all originally written in Czech. Like Slowness, his two earlier nonfiction works, The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed, were originally written in French.

About the Narrator

Richmond Hoxie has performed on Broadway in I’m Not Rappaport and off-Broadway in The Dining Room, Vienna: Lusthaus (Revisited), To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, and Landscape with Waitress. On television, he appears frequently in all of the incarnations of Law and Order. His film work includes JFK, Still of the Night, Without a Trace, and For Love or Money.