Life is Elsewhere

Life is Elsewhere

3.95 (10,737 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by  , Translated by 

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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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 124 x 196 x 22mm | 300g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 0571197779
  • 9780571197774
  • 76,980

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."--"Timeshow more

About Milan Kundera

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 more

Review Text

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)show more

Rating details

10,737 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 30% (3,198)
4 42% (4,460)
3 23% (2,519)
2 4% (466)
1 1% (94)
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