Front Cover
Harper Collins, Feb 26, 1993 - Fiction - 336 pages
32 Reviews

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 Author's 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 novel's narrators. The result is nothing less than the restoration of a classic.


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I love her as a character in our common love story. - Goodreads
Perfect psychological dissections, complicated plot. - Goodreads
But I found it rather hard to read. - Goodreads

Review: The Joke

User Review  - Steve - Goodreads

Mid 3. This is a multi-layered novel with various narrators. On one level it deals with the quashing of individualism by communism, and the central protagonist's long-held desire for vengeance on ... Read full review

Review: The Joke

User Review  - Rick - Goodreads

Kundera's (very) mature first novel, about a joke that has life-changing consequences, is best summed up by the author's own words from the preface: "...a melancholy duet about the schism between body and soul." Read full review

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About the author (1993)

The Franco-Czech novelist and critic 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.

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