Milan Kundera is a French author, novelist, essayist, playwright and short story writer, who was born in Czechoslovakia but has been living in exile in France since 1975 and is often regarded as one of the greatest authors of the modern era. Kundera’s staggering body of work is frequently cited as being worthy of a Nobel Prize in Literature and most of his books have been read by people from all across the world. His first book titled ‘The Joke’ was published in 1967 but the criticism of the Soviet Union did not go down well with the ruling class in Czechoslovakia. ‘The Book of Laughter and Forgetting’ was published after he moved to France and remains one of his notable works. However, his most famous work remains the 1984 novel ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, which was later on turned into a film by Philip Kaufman. Other notable works include ‘Immortality; Life is Elsewhere’, ‘Identity’, ‘Slowness’, ‘Ignorance’ and ‘The Festival of Insignificance’ among others. He has also won plenty of awards including Jerusalem Prize, Herder Prize and The Austrian State Prize for European Literature among others. Kundera is one of the intellectual giants of the modern era and as such has delivered plenty of quotable quotes through his work and life. Here are the selected ones.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.
But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave.
For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.
In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia, even the guillotine.
We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
The basis of shame is not some personal mistake of ours, but the ignominy, the humiliation we feel that we must be what we are without any choice in the matter, and that this humiliation is seen by everyone.
[W]e must never allow the future to collapse under the burden of memory.