Life is Elsewhere

Life is Elsewhere


By (author) Milan Kundera, Translated by Peter Kussi, Translated by Aaron Asher

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  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 196mm x 22mm | 300g
  • Publication date: 4 September 2000
  • ISBN 10: 0571197779
  • ISBN 13: 9780571197774
  • Sales rank: 54,230

Product description

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.

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Author information

Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France for over forty years. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed and bestselling novels The Joke (1967), Life is Elsewhere (1973), The Farewell Waltz (1976), The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1978), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984), Immortality (1991), and the short-story collection Laughable Loves (1969), which were all originally written in Czech. His play, Jacques and His Master (1984), Slowness (1995), Identity (1998) and Ignorance (2002) were all originally written in French. Milan Kundera has also written extensively about the novel in four collections of essays - The Art of the Novel (1968), Testaments Betrayed (1993), The Curtain (2007) and Encounter (2009).

Review quote

"Tender and unsparing..."Life Is Elsewhere is a remarkable portrait of an artist as a young man."--"Newsweek"I will say no more about this lacerating book except to urge it upon all who care about literature in our difficult era."--"Boston Globe"A sly and merciless lampoon of revolutionary romanticism...Kundera commits some of the funniest literary savaging since Evelyn Waugh polished off Dickens in "A Handful of Dust."--"Time

Editorial reviews

The self-deprecation and political cynicism of the Czech writers of Kundera's middle-aged generation appear as fine ironies in this novel about a young poet. It is a remarkable study of an artist dominated by his mother and his narcissism. Jaromil was the exclusive property of his mother from the time of his conception (she wanted to name him Apollo, meaning fatherless) to his early death - the final reconciliation to his mother's embrace. The discovery that words brought magic approbation from Maman and her friends made Jaromil a poet; the desire to achieve manhood made him a Party poet, zealously censoring his betters and relishing the poetry evening at the police academy. How his mother engulfed his Communism and his love affairs could trove been mere if very funny farce, but Kundera also mobilizes a strain of real tenderness, even for Maman, which was not found in the short stories of Laughable Loves (appearing simultaneously). The dramatization of self-dramatization, the light but brutal explicitness about the egoism of love and mother-love, make this a work of instruction in the good, old sense. Winner of a 1973 Medicis Literary Award. (Kirkus Reviews)