Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Identity by Milan Kundera-----My views

Finished reading “Identity” by Milan Kundera some time back. It’s one thin book. What is most interesting about his books is the way in which his characters are so realistic, how much they think, wonder, and speculate about things. Their interplay is very absorbing as can be seen within some of the predisposed dreams of various characters.

Identity is the most important thing for anyone in this in the world. It is what sets us apart from others. It’s our private domain.

In this book, for the two lovers, Chantal and Jean-Marc, their identities are as open as possible but still in their imaginations, they see a different person. Maybe it is the way we see others. Despite being very exposed about our identity to our loved one, we still have certain notions. The person maybe, is an open book but it might not seem so to us. What I like about the book is that the same situation has been told twice in different perspectives. That’s what is very interesting. And after reading it I had a different outlook apart from that of both the perceptions.

Jean-Marc knows that Chantal is his only link to the happiness in this world so he constantly worries about her, wants to make her happy always. He is afraid that she might get away from him. He does not really know her as he feels she isn’t what she seems. He doesn’t want the link between them to be lost. But he doesn’t know how to make her hold on to him. He does what he thinks is right and it kind of drives her away from him. And Chantal is on a look out for the identity of an anonymous admirer who sends her letters. The anonymous admirer keeps on writing about her and not a word about himself. She has this feeling that only he understands her. Not Jean-Marc. Now what happens after that……I can hardly tell it all.

One very important aspect I liked about the book is where Chantal thinks that we are not free from anything. We are constantly being hounded. Even in the womb, we are probed. Even after death, at times burial can’t escape speculations. One can be exhumed and quested upon. Only escape from it all is the crematory fire.

There are other nuggets too…..



  1. I love your private domain theory. Unfortunately it's quite crowded in my head and I can hardly get a thought in edgewise.
    We are being hounded. If you're famous it's the Paparrazi and if you're not it's Proctor and Gamble or Ford.
    With all due respect to the crematory fire I am certain that the guys from CSI could still collect enough DNA to convict you of something.

  2. Yes Homo escapeons, I agree. Even after we literally are into dust, these folks never leave us alone!

  3. And there are so many different levels of identity - those like you cite that are involved with the experience of interpersonal relationships, ethnic/social forms of identity... And I think also a level deeper than the social or even psychological.

    To segway from H.E.'s comment and your reponse, I guess we don't ever get to entirely jump out of the rest of reality, whatever kind of place it ultimately turns out to be. (Even when we wish we could...)

  4. Thank you for dropping by. Enjoyed reading you. Will pick up Identity...once my novel's done.