A man and a woman meet by chance while returning to their homeland, which they had abandoned twenty years earlier when they chose to become exiles. Will they manage to pick up the thread of their strange love story, interrupted almost as soon as it began and then lost in the tides of history? The truth is that after such a long absence "their memories no longer match." We always believe that our memories coincide with those of the person we loved, that we experienced the same thing. But this is just an illusion. Then again, what can we expect of our weak memory? It records only "an insignificant, minuscule particle" of the past, "and no one knows why it's this bit and not any other bit." We live our lives sunk in a vast forgetting, a fact we refuse to recognize. Only those who return after twenty years, like Odysseus returning to his native Ithaca, can be dazzled and astounded by observing the goddess of ignorance firsthand.
Milan Kundera is the only author today who can take such dizzying concepts as absence, memory, forgetting, and ignorance, and transform them into material for a novel, masterfully orchestrating them into a polyphonic and moving work.
San Francisco Chronicle
Haunting … cascading philosophical, historical and erotic mediations …[and] thunderclaps of insight, absurd metaphors and characters who haplessly misunderstand one another collide in his hypnotically repetitive and bitingly humorous prose.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Literary excellence … [Kundera's] irony and wit are …on target, his characters vivid and convincing.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
By far his most successful [novel] since The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Washington Post Book World
Kundera once more delivers a seductive, intelligent entertainment … [with] elegance and grace.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
An entertaining and thought-provoking work
Rocky Mountain News
Kundera is and elegant writer … He does a masterful job of reminding that the political is the personal.
Moving … There is a painful injustice and inequality to memory, which these encounters beautifully illustrate.
Time Out New York
Elegant … the emotional and intellectual payoff is extraordinary.
His language in this slim but elegant volume is nothing short of masterful.
A voice still masterful in its antennae for 'the human condition' … for Milan Kundera, life is plainly elsewhere and where it has always been in the eye of its fiercely intelligent, endlessly ruminative beholder.
Newark Star Ledger
[A] beautifully written tale of desire and loss.
Kundera is so bounteously gifted with insight that even a slender story like that of Ignorance is edifying, filled with intellectual surprises and flashes of the imagination.
Maureen Howard, New York Times Book Review
Erudite and playful...An impassioned account of the émigré as a character on the stage of European history.
New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
Milan's Kundera's resonant new novel Ignorance ….[is] wonderfully nuanced …. affecting.
An honorable failure. Kundera's taking himself too seriously is offset by his ability to change the subject again and again-though, at end, nothing adds up to much.
Booklist - Gillian Engberg
Part intellectual postulating, part exquisite storytelling, Kundera's profound, unsettling, and expertly crafted novel examines the ultimate immigration--leaving behind what's inherited--and marvels at the power and impossibility of it.
Rendered with compassion and humor.
Though slightly thicker than Kundera's previous French offerings and hinting at the pre-Slowness fiction that won him a rabid following, Ignorance suffers from a seemingly hurried narrative whose end may produce in some fans a nostalgia for Kundera at his deepest and most playful.
Starred Review. With elegant detachment and measured passion, Kundera once again shows himself the master of both the erudite and the carnal in this Mozartain interlude.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
I hope my grandmother can find one of Milan Kundera's book in the US. She'll like this book too!
In this spellbinding novel, written in Albania and smuggled into France a few pages at a time in the 1980s, Kadare denounces with rare force the machinery of the dictatorial regime, drawing us back to the ancient roots of Western civilization and tyranny.
Oldest romance writer in the world dies aged 105. Books #124 and #125 to be published next year(Dec 10 2013) Ida Pollock, author of more than 120 books, and believed to be the world's oldest romantic novelist, has died at the age of 105.