Life Is Elsewhere by Milan KunderaLife Is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera

Life Is Elsewhere

byMilan Kundera

Paperback | July 25, 2000

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The author initially intended to call this novel The Lyrical Age. The lyrical age, according to Kundera, is youth, and this novel, above all, is an epic of adolescence; an ironic epic that tenderly erodes sacrosanct values: childhood, motherhood, revolution, and even poetry. Jaromil is in fact a poet. His mother made him a poet and accompanies him (figuratively) to his love bed and (literally) to his deathbed. A ridiculous and touching character, horrifying and totally innocent ("innocence with its bloody smile"!), Jaromil is at the same time a true poet. He's no creep, he's Rimbaud. Rimbaud entrapped by the communist revolution, entrapped in a somber farce.

The Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, since 1975. 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 the short-story collection Laughable Loves—all origin...
Title:Life Is ElsewhereFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1.08 inPublished:July 25, 2000Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0060997028

ISBN - 13:9780060997021

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Rated 1 out of 5 by from I never thought I'd HATE a book my Milan Kundera I really hated this book. I plowed through it in 3 days just to get it over with. What a disappointment! I absolutely love The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I think it's one of the greatest novels ever written, but this is just awful. Part of the problem, for me, is that the protagonist, Jaromil is so extremely unlikable. Beyond that, it's set in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) in the 1940's-1950's- a very interesting time and place in history, but the book just isn't. It's described as satire, and perhaps it is, but maybe it's too esoteric for the average reader, or maybe I'm just not familiar enough with Czech poets or communists from that time so I don't get it. Several real figures are name dropped in the book, such as Jiří Wolker and Jan Hus, but they're just to obscure- for me, anyway. Other than that, the storyline jumps around so much that it's not clear what point Kundera is trying to make. I'm so glad I didn't read this first; if I had, I never would've read another one of this books.
Date published: 2018-03-11

From Our Editors

Adolescence is one of the most difficult times in life. For Jaromil, it is a time of true innocence when his poetry is flourishing. But the communist revolution threatens to put an end to his burgeoning talent. Life is Elsewhere is the stunning early novel by Milan Kundera that examines everything from the values of childhood to motherhood and revolution. This book is available for the first time in 20 years, contains a new postface by Kundera and a translation by Aaron Asher.

Editorial Reviews

"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)