Saturday, May 23, 2015

Jonathon Coe on Milan Kundera's current novel

"I can’t help feeling that if anything will undermine Kundera’s long-term reputation, it will not be any absence of “felt life” in his novels, or the fact that his art was developed in a political context that may one day (sooner than we think) be forgotten: it will be his overwhelming androcentrism. I avoid the word “misogyny” because I don’t think that he hates women, or is consistently hostile to them, but he does seem to see the world from an exclusively male viewpoint, and this does limit what might otherwise have been his limitless achievements as a novelist and essayist. Fortunately, The Festival of Insignificance is less disfigured by this tendency than almost anything else he has written; and so, although it may not be a substantial addition to his oeuvre, it might still be a good point of re-entry for those who have been turned off, in the past, by the problematic sexual politics which send ripples of disquiet through even his finest books."

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