Kundera's Novel Goes Home

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is finally being published in the author's homeland after twenty-two years of waiting. Milan Kundera's novel, set in what was Czechoslovakia during the 1968 revolt, was banned by a communist government and was originally published in French (despite being written in Czech). While it might have been welcomed before now, the original Czech manuscript was lost and Kundera was forced to translate his book back from French into Czech.
“It took a long time because he is a tremendously meticulous, enormously dedicated perfectionist and now he finally completed the demanding task of finalising the Czech edition. Obviously, it is still the same book, but it also unique in a way, as it had to undergo a unique process of translating and rewriting.”

In a postscript to the new edition, Kundera says: “I wanted to have it without any omissions or mistakes, or in one word, a complete and definitive version, because I doubt that I will have the time to go back to it again.”
Kundera went into exile in Paris in 1975 after being expelled from the Communist party for his involvement with the Prague Spring movement. He was stripped of his Czech citizenship in 1979 and became a French citizen in 1981. He currently lives in Paris and while some rumors had suggested that the delay to print The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Czech was the result of lingering animosity on the part of Kundera (he had previously forbidden the translation of his French writing into Czech), those rumors have been denied by his agent.

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