The wait is over
|(如果他知道我的電腦以他的名字為名，不知道有什麼話說?) 為Milan Kundera高興，22年後，The Unbearable Lightnesss of Being 得以在他的祖國捷克以捷克文出版，Tomaz 回家了…|
The unbearable wait is over as Kundera's lost novel goes home
From Bojan Pancevski in Vienna
TWENTY-TWO years after The Unbearable Lightness of Being was published, the sweeping love story has been released in the author’s homeland — and is poised to become a bestseller.
Milan Kundera’s book, which is set during the 1968 revolt in what was then Czechoslovakia and was made into a film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche, was banned by the communist authorities.
The first edition was published in French, and Czech readers have had to wait until now to read the book in its original Czech.
Kundera’s literary agent, Jiri Srstka, told The Times that the author’s meticulous rewriting of the book — some passages had to be translated back from the French after the original manuscript went missing — was responsible for the delay.
The new edition by Atlantis, a Czech publisher, also contains revisions and additions by the author.
“This idea that Milan did not want to publish the book in Czech because of some animosity towards the country is widely spread here, but it’s also an absolute nonsense, as he told me himself many times,” the agent said. “He worked on the text continuously and amended each French edition for Gallimard [the publisher]. In a way, he is writing this book again and again. But the Czech original manuscript was partially lost and, paradoxically, he needed to translate Lightness back from French, using the latest Gallimard edition.
“It took a long time because he is a tremendously meticulous, enormously dedicated perfectionist and now he finally completed the demanding task of finalising the Czech edition. Obviously, it is still the same book, but it also unique in a way, as it had to undergo a unique process of translating and rewriting.”
In a postscript to the new edition, Kundera says: “I wanted to have it without any omissions or mistakes, or in one word, a complete and definitive version, because I doubt that I will have the time to go back to it again.”
Atlantis said that the book had sold out since its publication last month and Jiri Bilek, of Luxor Book Palace, in Prague, said: “We have been selling around 100 copies a day.”
Kundera, born in Brno in 1929, was an active participant in the Prague Spring movement that was violently quelled by invading Soviet troops in 1968. Expelled from the Communist Party and banned from publishing in the country, he went into exile in Paris in 1975, and remains there to this day. He was stripped of his Czech citizenship in 1979 and became a French citizen in 1981.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being centres on the complex relationship between a young woman and a surgeon who is forced to work as a window cleaner because he criticised the regime. Despite setting the story against the backdrop of revolt, Kundera insisted that the book did not have a political message. In the postscript of the Czech edition, he urges readers to read the book as “a novel and nothing but a novel”.
Philip Kaufman, the American director, filmed the book in 1988, but Kundera dismissed the film as unfaithful and banned further attempts to adapt it for the cinema.