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Life Is Elsewhere

Life Is Elsewhere

Written by Milan Kundera and Aaron Asher

Narrated by Richmond Hoxie


Life Is Elsewhere

Written by Milan Kundera and Aaron Asher

Narrated by Richmond Hoxie

ratings:
4/5 (8 ratings)
Length:
10 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Aug 21, 2012
ISBN:
9780062215604
Format:
Audiobook

Description

The author initially intended to call this novel The Lyrical Age. The lyrical age, according to Kundera, is youth, and this novel, above all, is an epic of adolescence; an ironic epic that tenderly erodes sacrosanct values: childhood, motherhood, revolution, and even poetry. Jaromil is in fact a poet. His mother made him a poet and accompanies him (figuratively) to his love bed and (literally) to his deathbed. A ridiculous and touching character, horrifying and totally innocent ("innocence with its bloody smile"!), Jaromil is at the same time a true poet. He's no creep, he's Rimbaud. Rimbaud entrapped by the communist revolution, entrapped in a somber farce.

Publisher:
Released:
Aug 21, 2012
ISBN:
9780062215604
Format:
Audiobook


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What people think about Life Is Elsewhere

4.0
8 ratings / 7 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    My late 20s illustrated a certain cooling of conviction. It was a grassy hill in early spring, I believe I had bought this new and found my own views on poetry and revolution echoed, Hell, anticipated by Kundera. This is a novel of resignation.
  • (4/5)
    Like falling from one dream into another this novel takes you on a journey into the adolescence of a poet. Peeling away layers of personality the poet protagonist is revealed to be a human with all the ridiculous accouterments that attend to the artist. For those who enjoy ideas and feeling the sublime this is a great novel.
  • (5/5)
    Holy crap, this book was great. I mean, as long as you don't like pleasant books about nice people. It's vicious. And thank God, the lead character stopped reminding me of the worst things about me eventually.

  • (3/5)
    I remember reading this - but have almost no recollection of the book's contents...
  • (3/5)
    Not my favorite Kundera, I had to rather slog through this one. Mostly about how poetry can be used as a vehicle to escape ones life. Many of the same themes as depicted in his other work, this one, because of its rather non-linear structure and its different narrators, is a bit more challenging.
  • (5/5)
    A great psychological profile of a young man & his relationship to his mother & various loves. It is also a complex reflection of poetics, negotiating the positions between the extremes of socialist realism & a poetry of 'the absolute', suggesting that whilst you cannot rely on political dogma for your muse, the 'true' experience of life will still pass you by as it is so elusive, & art is dependent on many, often hidden or unpredictable contingencies.
  • (4/5)
    Rereading Life Is Elsewhere, I had the feeling as though I was traveling back to my adolescent years when I read the book for the first time. The protagonist, Jaromil the poet, leads a life observing and reacting towards others’ views on him. In Kundera’s words, he lives in a ‘mirrored world’. Needless to say, he is unhappy, insecure and emotionally disturbed.The tragedy is planted at the start of the novel, when Jaromil’s conception is unwelcome by his father. This is a life that is not meant to exist, a life that is always better in somewhere else. But then, ’somewhere’ is a space of non-existence. The eagerness to prove his existence makes Jaromil draw headless sketches, eavesdropping adults’ comments about him, writes and memorizes poems to impress men and women, and voices offensive opinions.Women play important roles in Jaromil’s life. His relationship with his mother is complicated - it’s dependency rather than love. In fact, he relies on the women - from his mother to the first girls he dated, to the redhead girl,and finally the filmmaker - around him to reassured himself the worthiness of his existence.Kundera is the master of the craft. The self-conscious narrator appears natural. The inclusion of Xarvier, the character in Jaromil’s dream, as his alter-ego to subtly reflect his vulnerability and frustration (that he can never achieve what he wishes but Xarvier would) is a superior plot. This is evident when the redhead girl, the only person who loves him, calls out Xarvier’s name during their intimacy; and later, Jaromil sees Xarvier makes love with the young filmmaker.Life is always elsewhere, when you can’t grasp the meaning of life.