Title: Life Is Elsewhere
Publication Date: 1974
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 1974. Knopf. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Slightly Worn Dustjacket With Some Tears. Translated from the Czech by Peter Kussi. 293 pages. July 1974. hardcover. Jacket illustration by Frank A. Fitzgerald. 0394480104. keywords: Literature Translated Czech Eastern Europe. inventory # 37142. FROM THE PUBLISHER - ‘It a necessary to be absolutely modern.’ – Rimbaud. The Poet - From his birth he is willed to be Artist by his romantic, disappointed mother, who praises his first stumble into rhyme (‘Ugly Anna stole banana’ - she, immemorial-Mama-editor, transcribes it as ‘Our dear Anna loves a banana’). As a boy, he is stung when his schoolmates contradict the image she has imposed on him: Prodigy. As a youth, he escapes her - in search of his own authentic self. To be modern, to be radical, to change the world - this is his compulsion, his idea of the artist's place in the cosmic scheme. At last, at the University of Prague, as the Communists rally the students to their cause (this is 1948), he is endowed with a persona that both he and the rest of the world can accept: People's Literary Hero, an identity validated by the rousing applause given his poems by the assembled members of the poetry circle of the Police Academy. This is Jaromil, protagonist of Milan Kundera's brilliant, unsparing, and high-comic novel - a portrait of the self-deluded poet defining himself through abstract cliche yet determined to stand out as Hero, whose naive and frenzied venture into the real blood and guts of politics preordains his emergence as fool and informer, setting in motion a tragedy of errors. In its wry, sly, ultimately blasphemous ambushing of the very essence of the romantic poet's ego and the ‘lyrical’ attitude toward life - nearly every episode in Jaromil's story has its (almost) counter - part in the life of some great poet - LIFE IS ELSEWHERE demonstrates the gifts that have won for Kundera, Czechoslovakia's foremost novelist, the praise of such diverse writers as Sartre, Aragon, and Philip Roth. Very Good In Slightly Worn Dustjacket With Some Tears. Bookseller Inventory # 37142
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.
About the Author:
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, Farewell Waltz, Life Is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves?all originally written in Czech. His most 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 French.
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 Loves -- all originally written in Czech.
Like Slowness, his two earlier nonfiction works, The Art of the Novel and Testaments Betrayed, were originally written in French.
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