Milan Kundera, born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, was a student when the Czech Communist regime was established in 1948, and later worked as a labourer, jazz musician and professor at the Institute for Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Prague. After the Russian invasion in August 1968, his books were proscribed. In 1975, he and his wife settled in France, and in 1981, he became a French citizen. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Life is Elsewhere, Farewell Waltz, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and of the short-story collection Laughable Loves - all originally in Czech. His most recent novels, Slowness, Identity and Ignorance, as well as his non-fiction works The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed, were originally written in French.In this entertaining and stimulating essay, one of world literature's most distinctive thinkers sets out his personal view of the history and value of the novel in Western civilization. Too often, Kundera suggests, a novel is thought about only within the confines of the language and nation of its origin, when in fact what makes a novel matter is its ability to reveal some previously unknown aspect of our existence. Kundera describes how the best novels, from Don Quixote to Ulysses and Madame Bovary to The Trial, do just that.Milan Kundera's The Curtain: Essays is a brilliant exploration of the novel - its history and its art - from one of the genre's most distinguished practitioners.
Milan KunderaLinda Asher
The French-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in the Czech Republic and has lived in France since 1975.