Trim: 6 x 8¾
978-1-4985-1080-6 • Hardback • May 2019 • $105.00 • (£81.00)
978-1-4985-1082-0 • Paperback • March 2022 • $39.99 • (£31.00)
978-1-4985-1081-3 • eBook • May 2019 • $38.00 • (£29.00)
Karen von Kunes is faculty member at Yale University.
Chapter One: The Author’s Identity Unfolding
Chapter Two: If You See Something, Say Something
Chapter Three: The Suitcase, the Bearer of All Evil
Chapter Four: Czech Destiny or Fate?
Chapter Five: The Betrayal
Chapter Six: Kundera’s Sexual Politics?
Chapter Seven: An Example of Interdisciplinary Analysis
Von Kunes’s book is an engaging scholarly publication that reaches across the fields of literary criticism, philosophy, psychology and history. Unlike some scholarly publications that tend to be dry, von Kunes’s surprises with clarity of presentation and a suspenseful and accessible style that can be enjoyed by anyone. In her monograph, Professor von Kunes has achieved what no one dared to see or admit. Milan Kundera’s Fiction: A Critical Approach to Existential Betrayals is an absolute must to read in order to understand Kundera’s complex genius.— BritskeListy
"Karen von Kunes has been following Kundera's work for years, and her judgment and analyses are always very precise in capturing the essence of the author's endeavor. Hers is the evolving attempt, very much in sync with Kundera's own changing themes and motifs. Kundera is responding to a new situation in the changing world and the sometimes uncomfortable changes in his fiction might be a challenge to some readers. von Kunes makes sense of this challenging author in persuasive and clear interpretation of some of his most difficult works.” — Peter Petro, The University of British Columbia
"Milan Kundera's Fiction is a topical, all-encompassing and very stimulating analysis of Milan Kundera’s literary oeuvre. The author starts out by examining an incident from March 1950 when a CIA agent was arrested in Prague and Kundera may have been entangled in this event. A major role was played by coincidences and by a mysterious suitcase - hence von Kunes argues that the motif of suitcase is the fatal 'instrument' which always leads to catastrophic developments in Kundera's work.” — Jan Čulík, University of Glasgow
“Karen von Kunes explores the ever-changing identity of Milan Kundera from his student days in Czechoslovakia to his authorial career in France, uncovering interwoven life struggles in the fiction of an inquisitive, analytical, and erudite mind. The case of a real-life valise that caught young Kundera’s attention on March 14, 1950 and escalated into a political and human drama of betrayal and suffering reappears throughout his fiction. Digression, confusion, paradox, political plight, irrational behavior, secret police, and prison contribute to this comprehensive inquiry into Kundera’s profoundly human stories of laughter and forgetting.”— Kenneth David Jackson, Yale University
“Karen von Kunes offers a uniquely creative analysis of Milan Kundera's life and art via the image of a suitcase. Once opened, it offers a reading and understanding of fictional characters, the author himself, and the political realities of the twentieth century. Milan Kundera's Fiction: A Critical Approach to Existential Betrayals reads like a detective story, one that is suspenseful and thought provoking well beyond its pages.”— Hana Pichova, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
“Milan Kundera’s writings have been analyzed and interpreted in many languages, but he has brought his characters to life within the history reflecting his own life’s experiences.Karen von Kunes is intensely aware of this, and with this in mind she weaves her assessment of Kundera’s work, carefully tracing the basic, if submerged, theme of Kundera’s novels: the many levels of betrayal – political, moral, psychological, highlighting the constant interplay between the novelist’s personal existentialism and the enigmatic ambiguity of his characters.” — Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, University of British Columbia