Famous author Milan Kundera passes away at 94

The Unbearable Lightness of Being author Milan Kundera passed suddenly in Paris on July 11, 2023, according to his publisher Gallimard, owing to an undisclosed illness. Age-wise, he was 94.
When the European Parliament learned of Kundera’s passing, a moment of silence was observed in his honor.

In a Czech-language tweet, Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic stated: “Milan Kundera was a writer who was able to reach generations of readers across all continents with his work and achieved world fame… He left behind not only a remarkable work of fiction, but also an important work of essays.”

Famous authors like Franz Kafka, Martin Heidegger, and Miguel de Cervantes were among those who inspired Kundera, and this can be seen in his works.
Vera, Kundera’s wife, who protected his private life from outside interference, also received sympathy from PM Fiala.

The renowned French novelist Kundera was born in the Czech Republic on April 1, 1929. According to the AP, “His dissident writings in communist Czechoslovakia transformed him into an exiled totalitarian satirist.” Kundera fled to France in 1975 and eventually obtained French citizenship in 1981.

“If someone had told me as a boy: One day you will see your nation vanish from the world, I would have considered it nonsense, something I couldn’t possibly imagine. A man knows he is mortal, but he takes it for granted that his nation possesses a kind of eternal life,” Kundera told author Philip Roth during an interview for The New York Times in 1980.
In 1989, the Velvet Revolution removed Communists from power and Czechoslovakia was reborn as Czech Republic. However, by then Kundera had made a new identity and life in Paris with his wife Vera.
In June 2012, Kundera had expressed his fears regarding the future of literature in a speech to the French National Library. “It seems to me that time, which continues its march pitilessly, is beginning to endanger books. It’s because of this anguish that, for several years now, I have in all my contracts a clause stipulating that they must be published only in the traditional form of a book, that they be read only on paper and not on a screen… People walk in the street, they no longer have contact with those around them, they don’t even see the homes they pass, they have wires hanging from their ears. They gesticulate, they should, they look at no one and no one looks at them. I ask myself, do they even read books anymore? It’s possible, but for how much longer?,” Kundera had said in the speech, which was read in French by his friend.

Kundera was frequently a contender for the esteemed Nobel Prize in Literature throughout his lifetime. He was not, however, informed about it.

The Booker Prizes tweeted their sympathies at the same time. “We are saddened to hear of the death of Milan Kundera. Kundera was shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2005 and was known for his philosophical yet playful novels. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

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