the man without qualities

“Encompassing the complexity of existence in the modern world demands a technique of ellipsis, of condensation. Otherwise you fall into the trap of endless length. The Man Without Qualities is one of the two or three novels I love most, but don’t ask me to admire its enormous unfinished size. Imagine a castle so big that it can’t all be seen at once. Imagine a string quartet that goes on for nine hours. There are anthropological limits—the limits of memory, for instance—that ought not to be exceeded. When you reach the end of a book you should still find it possible to remember the beginning.”

— Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel, Faber and Faber, London, 2005, pp.71-72.

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