Sunday 17 June 2007

21. Life Is Elsewhere

Starting tomorrow my reading for pleasure is going to have to slow down as I dive back into my thesis revisions. In the meantime, I'm reading one of Milan Kundera's early efforts, Life is Elsewhere.

Kundera's M.O. is to make fun of pretension in its myriad forms; this one is a scathing satire on poetry and poetic sensibilities. It is, indeed, funny at times in the service of said satire; e.g., "He [the poet] would look at himself in the mirror for a long time, desperately struggling in the immense space between ape and Rilke." I've gotten many satisfied chuckles from this sentence.

However, I think that if you make fun of something long enough you start to become that thing. Kundera's later works, in my experience, don't so clearly differentiate between the supposed objects of scorn and the narrator's voice. That said, Kundera is always a very easy read, a nice light snack for the mind, so I won't begrudge him his own pretensions too much.

I think I first heard of Kundera when Roger gifted me The Book of Laughter and Forgetting many years ago now.

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