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Synopses & Reviews
Milan Kundera's Identity  translated from the French by Linda Asher.
There are situations in which we fail for a moment to recognize the person we are with, in which the identity of the other is erased while we simultaneously doubt our own. That also happens with couples — indeed, above all with couples, because lovers fear more than anything else "losing sight" of the loved one.
With stunning artfulness in expanding and playing variations on the meaningful moment, Milan Kundera has made this situation — and the vague sense of panic it inspires — the very fabric of his new novel. Here brevity goes hand in hand with intensity, and a moment of bewilderment marks the start of a labyrinthine journey during which the reader repeatedly crosses the border between the real and the unreal, between what occurs in the world outside and what the mind creates in its solitude.
Of all contemporary writers, only Kundera can transform such a hidden and disconcerting perception into the material for a novel, one of his finest, most painful, and most enlightening. Which, surprisingly, turns out to be a love story.
From the distinguished author of such literary classics as The Unbearable Lightness of Being and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting comes a provocative love story with the page-turning quality of a mystery.
After a brief holiday at the shore with Jean-Marc, her younger lover, Chantal begins to receive letters at her home in Paris from a mysterious admirer. Signing the letters with the initials C. D. B., her admirer claims that he is dazzled by her beauty and follows her with the eyes of a spy — and a lover. Chantal suspects first one man, then another; but each proves to be a false lead. Meanwhile, the letters, which Chantal hides from Jean-Marc, begin to have an effect on the couple's sex life and then on their love life.
Candidly physical and disturbing in its wisdom about love, friendship, family, and the human psyche, Identity recounts a nightmare of loss, brilliantly illuminating the mystery of love from an unexpected angle.
About the Author
The Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, since 1975. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Farewell Waltz, Life Is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves—all originally written in Czech. His most recent novels Slowness, Identity, and Ignorance, as well as his nonfiction works The Art of the Novel, Testaments Betrayed, The Curtain, and Encounter, were originally written in French.
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