All too often, this brilliant novel of thwarted love and revenge miscarried has been read for its political implications. Now, a quarter century after The Joke was first published and several years after the collapse of the Soviet-imposed Czechoslovak regime, it becomes easier to put such implications into perspective in favor of valuing the book and all Kundera s work as what it truly is great, stirring literature that sheds new light on the eternal themes of human existence. The present edition provides English-language readers an important further means toward revaluation of The Joke.
For reasons he describes in his Authors Note, Milan Kundera devoted much time to creating with the assistance of his American publisher-editor a completely revised translation that reflects his original as closely as any translation possibly can reflects it in its fidelity not only to the words and syntax but also to the characteristic dictions and tonalities of the novels narrators. The result is nothing less than the restoration of a classic. Author Biography The Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, for more than twenty years.
He is the author of the novels The Joke, Life Is Elsewhere, The Farewell Party, The Books of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short story collection Laughable Lovesall originally written in Czech. Like Slowness, his two earlier nonfiction works, The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed, were originally written in French.