Two tales of seduction, separated by more than two hundred years, interweave and oscillate between the sublime and the comic in this, Milan Kundera's lightest novel. In the 18th century, the marvelous Madame de T. summons a young nobleman to her chamber and gives him an unforgettable lesson in the art of seduction and the pleasures of love. In the same chat at the end of the 20th century, a hapless intellectual experiences a rather less successful night. Distracted by his desire to be the center of attention at a convention of entomologists, Vincent misses the opportunity to be with a beautiful stranger and suffers the ridicule of his peers.
A "morning-after" encounter between the two men brings the novel to a poignant close and provides a unique insight into the different mind-sets of the two centuries. As Vincent prepares to speed off on his motorcycle, he has already obliterated the memory of his humiliation. The young nobleman, on the other hand, relives the delicious pleasures of the night as he lies back on the cushions of his carriage.
Ruminating on how the pleasures of slowness have disappeared in today's fast-paced, future-shocked world, Kundera explores the secret bond between slowness and memory and the connection between our era's desire to forget and the way we have given ourselves over to the demon of speed. As provocative as it is entertaining, Slowness is Kundera in top form.
Paradoxically, Slowness...is the fastest paced of Kundera's novels as well as the most accessible.