Daniel Hahn

Style over substance

The Festival of Insignificance, Milan Kundera’s first novel in a decade, is short, defiantly self-conscious — and fatally lacking in enjoyment

We begin in Paris with an introduction to five insignificant friends. One (Ramon) is walking past the new Chagall exhibition, but decides against visiting — not for the first time, nor the last — because of the queues. Another (D’Ardelo) is returning from the doctor’s, where he has learned that he does not have cancer — though he tells Ramon he does.

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