Milan Kundera novel 'The Festival of Insignificance' coming in English

Milan Kundera, 85, will see a new novel published in English in June in the U.S.

Milan Kundera, the author best known for "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," has a new novel coming in English, the first in more than decade, the Guardian reports. Previously published in France, "The Festival of Insignificance" will be published by HarperCollins in the U.S. and Faber in Britain in June.

The 128-page novel is Kundera's first since "Ignorance" in 2000. He's since released two books in English translations: "The Curtain," a seven-part essay, in 2007, and "Encounter," an essay collection, in 2010. Both were translated from the French by Linda Asher, also the translator of "The Festival of Insignificance."

Faber describes the book as a "wryly comic yet deeply serious glance at the ultimate insignificance of life and politics, told through the daily lives of four friends in modern-day Paris."

Kundera, 85, was born and raised in Czechoslovakia. He was involved with efforts to liberalize the country under the communist regime in the 1960s, culminating in the Prague Spring in 1968 that was followed by a harsh Soviet crackdown. He left for France in 1975 and is now a citizen of France, writing mostly in French.

He is notably reclusive and rarely talks to the press. But he spoke about the state of the novel in a 1983 interview with the Paris Review: "A novel is a meditation on existence, seen through imaginary characters. The form is unlimited freedom. Throughout its history, the novel has never known how to take advantage of its endless possibilities. It missed its chance."

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