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Czech-born French writer Milan Kundera, who was best known for his novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” died at 94. Czech Television confirmed the news of his death on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.
A Life of Writing and Dissent
Kundera was renowned for exploring themes such as being, betrayal, and totalitarianism in his poems, plays, essays, and novels. Born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in 1929, Kundera studied literature and aesthetics at Charles University in Prague before he began his writing career.
Kundera was a vocal critic of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, leading to his books being banned for many years. He was also a prominent member of the Czechoslovak dissident movement during the communist era, and his work reflected his political beliefs and experiences.
In 1975, Kundera moved to France, where he continued to write and publish his work. He became a French citizen in 1981 and was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 2009.
Remembering Milan Kundera
Kundera’s most famous work, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” was published in 1984 and became an instant classic. The novel explores the lives of four main characters in Prague during the 1968 Prague Spring and its aftermath and deals with themes such as love, freedom, and the weight of existence.
Kundera’s other notable works include “Laughable Loves,” “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting,” and “Immortality.” His writing has been translated into more than 40 languages and has won numerous literary awards throughout his career.
Tributes to Kundera have poured in worldwide, with many fans and fellow writers expressing sadness at his passing. French President Emmanuel Macron called Kundera “a great writer and a free spirit,” while Czech Prime Minister Jan Hamáček praised him as “one of the most important figures of Czech literature and culture.”
A Legacy of Literature
Kundera’s death marks the end of a long and illustrious career that spanned more than half a century. His writing touched the lives of millions of readers around the world,