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Milan Kundera - Author

About the Author

The French-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in the Czech Republic and has lived in France since 1975. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novels The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, The Farewell Waltz, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves -- all originally in Czech. His more recent novels , Slowness, Identity, and Ignorance, as well as his nonfiction works, The Art of the Novel, Testaments Betrayed, The Curtain, and Encounter, were originally written in French.

Featured books by Milan Kundera

The Joke Faber Modern Classics

The Joke Faber Modern Classics

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

'It is impossible to do justice here to the subtleties, comedy and wisdom of this very beautiful novel. The author of The Joke is clearly one of the best to be found anywhere.' Salman Rushdie, Observer

Other books by Milan Kundera

Immortality

Immortality

Author: Milan Kundera Format: eBook Release Date: 19/06/2012

Milan Kundera's sixth novel springs from a casual gesture of a woman to her swimming instructor, a gesture that creates a character in the mind of a writer named Kundera. Like Flaubert's Emma or Tolstoy's Anna, Kundera's Agnes becomes an object of fascination, of indefinable longing. From that character springs a novel, a gesture of the imagination that both embodies and articulates Milan Kundera's supreme mastery of the novel and its purpose; to explore thoroughly the great, themes of existence.

Laughable Loves

Laughable Loves

Author: Milan Kundera Format: eBook Release Date: 19/06/2012

Milan Kundera is a master of graceful illusion and illuminating surprise. In one of these stories a young man and his girlfriend pretend that she is a stranger he picked up on the road--only to become strangers to each other in reality as their game proceeds. In another a teacher fakes piety in order to seduce a devout girl, then jilts her and yearns for God. In yet another girls wait in bars, on beaches, and on station platforms for the same lover, a middle-aged Don Juan who has gone home to his wife. Games, fantasies, and schemes abound in all the stories while different characters react in varying ways to the sudden release of erotic impulses.

Unbearable Lightness of Being

Unbearable Lightness of Being

Author: Milan Kundera Format: eBook Release Date: 15/05/2012

When The Unbearable Lightness of Being was first published in English, it was hailed as "e;a work of the boldest mastery, originality, and richness"e; by critic Elizabeth Hardwick and named one of the best books of 1984 by the New York Times Book Review. It went on to win the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and quickly became an international bestseller. Twenty years later, the novel has established itself as a modern classic. To commemorate the anniversary of its first English-language publication, HarperCollins is proud to offer a special hardcover edition.A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover -- these are the two couples whose story is told in this masterful novel.Controlled by day, Tereza's jealousy awakens by night, transformed into ineffably sad death-dreams, while Tomas, a successful surgeon, alternates loving devotion to the dependent Tereza with the ardent pursuit of other women. Sabina, an independent, free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals -- of parents, husband, country, love itself -- whereas her lover, the intellectual Franz, loses all because of his earnest goodness and fidelity.In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel, says the novelist, "e;the unbearable lightness of being"e; -- not only as the consequence of our private acts but also in the public sphere, and the two inevitably intertwine.This magnificent novel encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, and embraces, it seems, all aspects of human existence. It juxtaposes geographically distant places (Prague, Geneva, Paris, Thailand, the United States, a forlorn Bohemian village); brilliant and playful reflections (on "e;eternal return,"e; on kitsch, on man and animals -- Tomas and Tereza have a beloved doe named Karenin); and a variety of styles (from the farcical to the elegiac) to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world's truly great writers.

Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Author: Milan Kundera Format: eBook Release Date: 15/05/2012

Rich in its stories, characters, and imaginative range, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting is the novel that brought Milan Kundera his first big international success in the late 1970s. Like all his work, it is valuable for far more than its historical implications. In seven wonderfully integrated parts, different aspects of human existence are magnified and reduced, reordered and emphasized, newly examined, analyzed, and experienced.

The Curtain Essays

The Curtain Essays

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/03/2007

In this entertaining and always stimulating collection of seven essays, Kundera deftly sketches out his personal view of the history and value of the novel. Too often, he suggests, a novel is thought about only within the confines of the nation of its origin, when in fact the novel's development has always occurred across borders: Laurence Sterne learned from Rabelais, Henry Fielding from Cervantes, Joyce from Flaubert, Garcia Marquez from Kafka. The real work of a novel is not bound up in the specifics of any one language: what makes a novel matter is its ability to reveal some previously unknown aspect of our existence. In The Curtain, Kundera skillfully describes how the best novels do just that.

The Art of the Novel

The Art of the Novel

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2005

The classic of literary criticism from one of the world's greatest novelists. In seven independent, but closely related chapters, Milan Kundera presents his personal conception of the European novel, which he describes as 'an art born of the laughter of God'. 'Invigoratingly suggestive . . . Kundera's map of the development of the European novel is outlined with the reckless brevity of the man who knows exactly what and where the salient points are.' London Review of Books 'Kundera is the saddest, funniest and most loveable of authors.' The Times

Unbearable Lightness of Being

Unbearable Lightness of Being

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2004

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a story of irreconcilable love and infidelities in which Milan Kundera addresses himself to the nature of twentieth-century 'Being', offering a wide range of brilliant and amusing philosophical speculations. First published in 1984, Kundera's masterly novel encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy and was at once hailed by critics as a contemporary classic.

Ignorance

Ignorance

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/09/2003

In Ignorance, set in contemporary Prague, one of the most distinguished writers of our time takes up the complex and emotionally charged theme of exile and creates from it a literary masterpiece. A man and a woman meet by chance while returning to their homeland, which they had abandoned twenty years earlier when they chose to become exiles. Will they manage to pick up the thread of their strange love story, interrupted almost as soon as it began and then lost in the tides of history? The truth is that after such a long absence 'their memories no longer match.' We always believe that our memories coincide with those of the person we loved, that we experienced the same thing. But this is just an illusion as the memory records only 'an insignificant, minuscule particle' of the past, 'and no one knows why it's this bit and not any other bit.' We live our lives sunk in a vast forgetting, and we refuse to see it. Only those who return after twenty years, like Ulysses returning to his native Ithaca, can be dazzled and astounded by observing the goddess of ignorance first-hand. Milan Kundera has taken these dizzying concepts of absence, memory, forgetting, and ignorance, and transformed them into material for a novel, masterfully orchestrating them into a polyphonic and moving work.

Ignorance

Ignorance

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/11/2002

In Ignorance, set in contemporary Prague, one of the most distinguished writers of our time takes up the complex and emotionally charged theme of exile and creates from it a literary masterpiece. A man and a woman meet by chance while returning to their homeland, which they had abandoned twenty years earlier when they chose to become exiles. Will they manage to pick up the thread of their strange love story, interrupted almost as soon as it began and then lost in the tides of history? The truth is that after such a long absence 'their memories no longer match.' We always believe that our memories coincide with those of the person we loved, that we experienced the same thing. But this is just an illusion as the memory records only 'an insignificant, minuscule particle' of the past, 'and no one knows why it's this bit and not any other bit.' We live our lives sunk in a vast forgetting, and we refuse to see it. Only those who return after twenty years, like Ulysses returning to his native Ithaca, can be dazzled and astounded by observing the goddess of ignorance first-hand. Milan Kundera has taken these dizzying concepts of absence, memory, forgetting, and ignorance, and transformed them into material for a novel, masterfully orchestrating them into a polyphonic and moving work.

Jacques and his Master

Jacques and his Master

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2002

Life is Elsewhere

Life is Elsewhere

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/09/2000

A budding poet and his adoring mother are the central characters of this intriguing early novel by Milan Kundera. He takes us through the young man's fantasies and love affairs in a characteristic tour de force, alive with wit, eroticism and ideas.

Laughable Loves

Laughable Loves

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/08/2000

Laughable Loves is a collection of stories that first appeared in print in Prague before 1968, but was then banned. The seven stories are all concerned with love, or rather with the complex erotic games and stratagems employed by women and especially men as they try to come to terms with needs and impulses that can start a terrifying train of events. Sexual attraction is shown as a game that often turns sour, an experience that brings with it painful insights and releases uncertainty, panic, vanity and a constant need for reassurance. Thus a young couple on holiday start a game of pretence that threatens to destroy their relationship, two middle-aged men go in search of girls they don't really want, a young man renews contact with an older woman who feels humiliated by her ageing body, an elderly doctor uses his beautiful wife to increase his attraction and minister to his sexual vanity. In Laughable Loves, Milan Kundera shows himself, once again, as a master of fiction's most graceful illusions and surprises.

Identity

Identity

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/04/1999

Sometimes - perhaps only for an instant - we fail to recognise a companion; for a moment their identity ceases to exist, and thus we come to doubt our own. The effect is at its most acute in a couple where our existence is given meaning by our perception of a lover, and theirs of us. With his astonishing skill at building on and out from the significant moment, Kundera has placed such a situation and the resulting wave of panic at the core of the novel. In a narrative as intense as it is brief, a moment of confusion sets in motion a complex chain of events which forces the reader to cross and recross the divide between fantasy and reality. Profound, sad and disquieting but above all a love story, Identity provides further proof of Kundera's astonishing gifts as a novelist.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/1999

In this novel - a story of irreconcilable loves and infidelities - Milan Kundera addresses himself to the nature of twentieth-century 'Being' In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. We feel, says the novelist, 'the unbearable lightness of being' - not only as the consequence of our private acts but also in the public sphere, and the two inevitably intertwine. Juxtaposing Prague, Geneva, Thailand and the United States, this masterly novel encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, and embraces, it seems, all aspects of human existence. It offers a wide range of brilliant and amusing philosophical speculations and it descants on a variety of styles.

Farewell Waltz

Farewell Waltz

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/1998

Klima, a celebrated jazz trumpeter, receives a phone call announcing that a young nurse with whom he spent a brief night at a fertility spa is pregnant. She has decided he is the father. And so begins a comedy which, during five madcap days, unfolds with ever-increasing speed. Klima's beautiful, jealous wife, the nurse's equally jealous boyfriend, a fanatical gynaecologist, a rich American, at once Don Juan and saint, and an elderly political prisoner who, just before his emigration, is holding a farewell party at the spa are all drawn into this black comedy, as in A Midsummer Night's Dream. As usual, Milan Kundera poses serious questions with a blasphemous lightness which makes us understand that the modern world has taken away our right to tragedy.

The Joke

The Joke

Author: Milan Kundera Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/01/1998

The Joke, Milan Kundera's first novel, gained him a huge following in his own country and launched his worldwide literary reputation. In his foreword Kundera explains why this completely revised translation is the definitive edition of his work. 'It is impossible to do justice here to the subtleties, comedy and wisdom of this very beautiful novel. The author of The Joke is clearly one of the best to be found anywhere.' Salman Rushdie, Observer

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.kundera.de/english/

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