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Ignorance

by Milan Kundera

A short but powerful novel - and after the first few chapters, surprisingly easy to read. Memory (and especially its selective characteristics) exile and nostalgia all play a central role as three characters return to their Czech homeland after an absence of 20 years. The observation of human relationships is both insightful and well done - but don't expect to keep your equilibrium intact.

Extract

One day she sees her new boyfriend hurrying toward her in a blue jacket, and she remembers that her first boyfriend also looked good in a blue jacket. Another day, gazing into her eyes, he praises their beauty by way of a highly unusual metaphor; she was fascinated by that because her first boyfriend, commented on her eyes, had used word for word the same unusual phrase. These coincidences amaze her ... the fact that today's boyfriend bears a strange resemblance to yesterday's makes him even more exceptional, even more original, and she believes that he is mysteriously predestined for her.
Translated by Linda Asher

Parallels

L'Etranger by Albert Camus
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
 

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