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Milan Kundera Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Joke (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Life is Elsewhere (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
Farewell Waltz (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Farewell Party (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Immortality (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Slowness (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Identity (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Masterpieces of Fiction (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ignorance (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Festival of Insignificance (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Let the Old Dead Make Room for the Young Dead (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

Jacques and His Master (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Art of the Novel (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Testaments Betrayed (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Curtain (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Encounter (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Laughable Loves (1970)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Kidnapped West (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Magical Realist Fiction(1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Granta 6: A Literature for Politics(1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Granta 13: After the Revolution(1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
PEN America Issue 4: Fact/Fiction(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writers: Their Lives and Works(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Milan Kundera is a Czech author of literature and fiction books. He went into exile in France in 1975 and became a French citizen by naturalization in 1981. His Czechoslovak citizenship was revoked in 1979 but later conferred in 2019. But despite this, Kundera considers himself a French author, emphasizing that his work should be studied as French literature.

Kundera’s best-known book is The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Before the Velvet Revolution in 1989, his books were banned in Czechoslovakia, so he’s always led a low-profile life, rarely interviewing with the media. He has been a contender for the Nobel Prize and a nominee for several other awards.

In 1985 Kundera won the Jerusalem Prize; two years later, in 1987 won the Austrian State Prize. In 2000 he won Herder Prize and received a Golden Order of Merit from the Slovenian president in 2021. Even though his early poetic works were strongly pro-communist, his books don’t feature ideological classifications. The author has often insisted that he’s just a novelist, not a politically motivated author. Since the publication of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera has never included political commentary in his books. His style of fiction, intermixed with philosophical digression, gained inspiration from Robert Musil’s books. Kundera also draws inspiration from other renaissance authors such as Rabelais, Giovanni Boccaccio and most importantly, Miguel de Cervantes. Other inspirations include Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Witold Gombrowicz, and Denis Diderot.

The author exclusively identifies his characters as concoctions of his imagination. He uses first-person perspective narration to comment on the characters in the third-person perspective. Kundera is mainly concerned with words that build his character than his physical appearance. In his non-fiction book, The Art of the Novel, Kundera says that the reader’s imagination naturally completes the writer’s vision and that he can focus on essential aspects of his characters which are crucial to understanding them.

First published in 1984, The Unbearable Lightness of Being offers a deeper perspective of philosophical, political, poetic, musical, historical and religious narrative. It is a multidimensional work of art, a piece of writing that is easy and entirely understandable while dealing with theories, deep meanings, concepts and spiritiual quests that have plagued and tormented human beings for centuries. Everything about this book is simple and specific. The book is easy to understand, has no repetitions, and is quite understandable.
It is a story about two men, two women and a dog and their lives in Prague Spring in 1968. Even though written in 1982, the book was never published until two years later in a French translation, with the original Czech texts getting published the following year. The book was also translated into English by Michael Henry Heim and published in the New Yorker in 1984.

The book events take place in the late 1960 and early 1970 in Prague. The story focuses on the artistic and intellectual life of Czech society until the invasion by the Soviet Union and three other countries. Until the aftermath of the invasion through the lives of two different pairs of people and those surrounding them.
The style of Kundera is a charming bit and a piecework approach. We focus on a single character and that character’s views and opinions in mini-essays that deepen the character’s psyche or background. The focus then shifts to a new individual, about whom we discover further information, occasionally touching on previously-seen elements. It is similar to Rashomon but more comprehensive, encompassing lives and ages rather than just one night’s events.

Part of what the author accomplishes is to bring the tale forward via one person, then travel back in time and repeat only a portion of that story from the perspective of a second person, demonstrating that our best efforts to understand one another are catastrophically insufficient. There will always be other strata underneath our drilling. Yet, at the same time, the author advances the plot, pauses, swaps characters, and then, on the third occasion, either return to person number one or changes to person number three and continues the process. Multiple moving pieces simultaneously exposing their objectives and hiding others’ intentions develop, resembling contradictory court evidence.

In 1988, Kundera’s book was adapted into a movie by an American company featuring Daniel DayLewis, Juliette Binoche, and Lena Olin and directed by Philip Kaufman. In a note to the Czech version of the book, the author notes that the film adaptation had very little to do with the book’s spirit or the character. Additionally, the author states that after this experience, he no longer sells or allows adaptations of his books.
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Milan Kundera’s work, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, was released in France in 1979. It consists of seven distinct storylines connected by common themes. This book examines the nature of forgetting in history, politics, and everyday life.
Kundera writes on politics, sex, philosophy, and history with an intriguing and inspiring jaded pessimism. Even though this may be categorized as cerebral literature, it was addicting and entertaining, sensual and cool, and simple to read.

Memory, the aches of laughing, and the mutual deceits of human connections repeat throughout the book. However, sex and a woman’s rump, as Kundera refers to them, are never too distant from the author’s thoughts. The stories are also interwoven with lengthy philosophical paragraphs, giving Kundera the impression of being a more experienced and wiser author than most of his contemporaries. The recurring characters are terse yet vivid and are often locked in a psychological trap.

Even when the characters in Kundera’s universe are on the approach of becoming symbolic personae, he always intervenes before they get too abstract, immersing them in a harsh and terrible reality. In The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Kundera states, “It is a novel about Tamina, and if she is missing, it is a narrative for Tamina.” This is the statement in which he arrives and creates Tamina. Modern sarcastic fantasy, a particularly vibrant and perceptive example, accords everyone with the same imaginary status, including the author, his characters, historical people, and even angels. The objective of the game is to distinguish between illusion and reality. He has a preference for afflicted yet tenacious and resilient individuals. In his capacity as a novelist, Kundera reminds us of the nature of fantasy by accepting responsibility for it. However, he also brings himself before us as a person who lived under Communism in Czechoslovakia and was an exile in France. In the book, fantasy and human reality are never far apart, but their intersections are odd.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Milan Kundera

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