Czech-born French writer Milan Kundera, author of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, dies at 94

Milan Kundera, whose dissident writings in communist Czechoslovakia reworked him into an exiled satirist of totalitarianism, has died in Paris at the age of 94, Czech media mentioned Wednesday.

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Kundera’s famend novel, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,’’ opens wrenchingly with Soviet tanks rolling via Prague, the Czech capital that was the author’s house till he moved to France in 1975. Weaving collectively themes of love and exile, politics and the deeply private, Kundera’s novel gained important acclaim, incomes him a large readership amongst Westerners who embraced each his anti-Soviet subversion and the eroticism threaded via many of his works.

“If somebody had advised me as a boy: Someday you will note your nation vanish from the world, I might have thought of it nonsense, one thing I couldn’t presumably think about. A person is aware of he’s mortal, however he takes it as a right that his nation possesses a form of everlasting life,” he advised the author Philip Roth in a New York Occasions interview in 1980, the 12 months earlier than he turned a naturalized French citizen.

In 1989, the Velvet Revolution pushed Communists from energy and Kundera’s nation was reborn because the Czech Republic, however by then he had made a brand new life — and a whole id — in his attic condo on Paris’ Left Financial institution.

To say his relationship with the land of his start was advanced can be an understatement. He returned to the Czech Republic not often and incognito, even after the autumn of the Iron Curtain. His remaining works, written in French, have been by no means translated into Czech. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,’’ which gained him such acclaim and was made into a movie in 1988, was not revealed within the Czech Republic till 2006, 17 years after the Velvet Revolution, though it was out there in Czech since 1985 from a compatriot who based a publishing home in exile in Canada. It topped the best-seller record for weeks and, the next 12 months, Kundera gained the State Award for Literature for it.

Kundera’s spouse, Vera, was an important companion to a reclusive man who eschewed know-how — his translator, his social secretary, and in the end his buffer towards the skin world. It was she who fostered his friendship with Roth by serving as their linguistic go-between, and — in line with a 1985 profile of the couple — it was she who took his calls and dealt with the inevitable calls for on a world-famous author.

The writings of Kundera, whose first novel “The Joke’’ opens with a younger man who’s dispatched to the mines after making gentle of communist slogans, was banned in Czechoslovakia after the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968, when he additionally misplaced his job as a professor of cinema. He had been writing novels and performs since 1953.

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” follows a dissident surgeon from Prague to exile in Geneva and again house once more. For his refusal to bend to the Communist regime the surgeon, Tomas, is compelled to grow to be a window washer, and makes use of his new occupation to rearrange intercourse with lots of of feminine purchasers. Tomas in the end lives out his remaining days within the countryside together with his spouse, Tereza, their lives turning into each extra dreamlike and extra tangible as the times go.

Jiri Srstka, Kundera’s Czech literary agent at the time the guide was lastly revealed within the Czech Republic, mentioned the author himself delayed its launch there for fears it will be badly edited.

“Kundera needed to learn your complete guide once more, rewrite sections, make additions and edit your complete textual content. So given his perfectionism, this was a long-term job, however now readers will get the guide that Milan Kundera thinks ought to exist,” Ststka advised Radio Praha at the time.


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