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Extended Audio Sample The Festival of Insignificance: A Novel Audiobook, by Milan Kundera Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) 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 comes an unexpected and enchanting novel—the culmination of his life’s work—that is a hymn to friendship and an original and humorous commentary on our era and how we live now.

Set in Paris today, the novel follows four friends who run into each other in the Luxembourg Gardens, attend parties, and conduct a long-running exchange on sex, desire, history, art, and even the meaning of human existence. As in all novels by this literary master, The Festival of Insignificance contains both fiction and a critical commentary on contemporary reality. Alain, one of the friends, is fascinated by the exposed belly buttons of passing women—the latest fashion—and takes navel-gazing to imaginative, erotic heights. Another, who has just been told that he does not have cancer, tells a friend that his case is terminal. Kundera moves effortlessly from a ferocious parody of Stalinism to playful ridicule of our own times. Neither the Stalinist period nor our own knows how to take a joke, or even how to recognize one. Kundera pokes fun at our sense of self-importance, and one of the friends, Ramon, proposes that we rejoice in the freedom of recognizing our own insignificance. What a liberating thought!

The Festival of Insignificance takes up all the themes that have informed this great writer’s fiction, embracing the comic and laughing at a culture and a society that has lost what is most vital to life: that necessary and seemingly elusive sense of humor.

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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.