Milan Kundera, author of 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being', dies

1967 file picture shows Czech-born writer Milan Kundera in Prague. Photo: AP /CTK, Jovan Dezort/File

Prague: Czech-born writer Milan Kundera, author of the novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" has died, the Czech library housing his personal collection said on Wednesday. He was 94.

"Milan Kundera died yesterday in Paris after a long illness," said Anna Mrazova, spokeswoman for the Moravian Library (MZK).

Kundera was born in the Czech city of Brno but emigrated to France in 1975 after being ostracised for criticising the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

He won accolades for his style depicting themes and characters that floated between the mundane reality of everyday life and the lofty world of ideas.

He rarely gave interviews, believing writers should speak through their work.

His first novel "The Joke" was published in 1967 and offered a scathing portrayal of the Czechoslovak Communist regime.

The work was a first step in Kundera's path from party member to exile dissident.

He told French daily Le Monde in 1976 that to call his works political was to oversimplify, and therefore obscure their true significance.

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