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Life Is Elsewhere

311 pages, 2000



1382 books

Kundera originally planned to call this novel The Lyrical Age. In Kundera's opinion, youth is the lyrical age, and this novel is above all an epic of adolescence—an ironic epic that tenderly undermines sacred values: childhood, motherhood, revolution, and even poetry. Jaromil is in fact a poet. 

His mother made him a poet and accompanies him to his love bed and to his deathbed. A ridiculous and touching character (horrifying yet completely innocent!), Jaromil is at the same time a true poet. He's no creep—he's Rimbaud. Rimbaud is trapped by the communist revolution, trapped in a gloomy farce.

The Complexity of Youth

In Life Is Elsewhere, Milan Kundera explores the complexities of youth and the struggles of growing up. He shows us that the journey to adulthood is often filled with confusion, rebellion, and a desperate search for identity. This book encourages us to look back at our own youth, understand our past, and learn from it.

The Power of Poetry

Kundera beautifully illustrates the power of poetry and its ability to express our deepest emotions. He shows us that poetry can be a tool for self-discovery and a way to navigate through life's challenges. So, why not check out some poetry books next time you're at the library?

The Danger of Idealism

Life Is Elsewhere warns us about the dangers of idealism. Kundera suggests that being too idealistic can lead us to make poor decisions and even harm those around us. It's a reminder to stay grounded and realistic in our expectations and actions.

The Influence of Mothers

The book also explores the profound influence mothers can have on their children's lives. Kundera's protagonist, Jaromil, is heavily influenced by his mother's dreams and expectations. This makes us think about the role our own parents played in shaping who we are today.

The Search for Identity

Finally, Life Is Elsewhere is a deep dive into the search for identity. Kundera's protagonist struggles to find his place in the world, a struggle many of us can relate to. This book encourages us to reflect on our own identities and the journeys we've taken to find them.


authorNeil Strauss

Neil Strauss