His widely translated fiction, which is often set against a totalitarian backdrop yet is usually apolitical in tone, looks ironically at love, sex, and the possibility of spiritual fulfillment in the modern age. His works frequently treat themes of exile and return, memory and forgetfulness, nostalgia and regret. Kundera's most acclaimed novels are The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979, tr. 1980, 1996) and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (tr. 1984). Among his other novels are Life Is Elsewhere (tr. 1974, 2000) and Immortality (1990, tr. 1991), both written in Czech; and Slowness (1995, tr. 1996), Identity (1997, tr. 1998), and Ignorance (2000, tr. 2002), all originally in French. He has also written plays, short stories, poetry, and essays. Among the latter are collections containing his reflections on fiction, The Art of the Novel (1986, tr. 1988), Testaments Betrayed (tr. 1995), The Curtain (2005, tr. 2007), and Encounter (2009, tr. 2010), in which he also discusses poetry, music, and painting.
See studies by M. N. Banerjee (1990) and F. Ricard (2003).
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