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.
©1973 Text copyright 1973 by Milan Kundera; French translation copyright 1973 by Editions Gallimard; French translation revised by Milan Kundera copyright 1985, 1987 by Editions Gallimard; New English translation from the French copyright 2000 by Aaron Asher. (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.