Milan Kundera’s “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting” is a hypnotic and mesmerizing piece of fiction that looks at “totalarianism” (referred to as the former the Soviet Union), the place of the individual inside such a debilitating structure, the duality of all individuals, and the importance of not forgetting one’s history which is one of the main goals of all totalitarian and conquering nations.
Mr. Kundera, who saw the Russian invasion in 1968 of his country (Czehoslovakia) and its aftermath is one of the great writers of the 20th century and one of the brave and heroic dissidents whose literary appeal, genius, and ideas helped shape world opinion against the Soviet Union and eventually was instrumental in its downfall.
If one doubts the importance of his subject matter twenty-five years after the fall of the Soviet Union, one is truly mistaken. It would be like disregarding the atrocities that took place during World War 2. Not forgetting history is very important to the survival of the human race. Sadly, the administration in Washington D.C. at the moment doesn’t seem to think so and its pathetic response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its occupation of Syria and its infringement on our democracy is an insult to all the people who have, and are currently suffering, under Russian aggression.
That being said, Mr. Kundera’s literary genius is what shines in this book as much as the message he is trying to get across. How can one not recommend this book? It is just that amazing.