All too often, this brilliant novel of thwarted love and revenge miscarried has been read for its political implications. Now, a quarter century after The Joke was first published and several years after the collapse of the Soviet-imposed Czechoslovak regime, it becomes easier to put such implications into perspective in favor of valuing the book (and all Kundera 's work) as what it truly is: great, stirring literature that sheds new light on the eternal themes of human existence.
The present edition provides English-language readers an important further means toward revaluation of The Joke. For reasons he describes in his Author's Note, Milan Kundera devoted much time to creating (with the assistance of his American publisher-editor) a completely revised translation that reflects his original as closely as any translation possibly can: reflects it in its fidelity not only to the words and syntax but also to the characteristic dictions and tonalities of the novel's narrators. The result is nothing less than the restoration of a classic.
米蘭‧昆德拉 (Milan Kundera)，1929年生於捷克的布爾諾。1975他流亡移居法國。作品有長篇小說：《玩笑》、《身分》、《笑忘書》、《生活在他方》（榮獲法國文壇最高榮譽之一的『梅迪西大獎』）、《賦別曲》（榮獲義大利最佳外國文學獎）、《生命中不能承受之輕》、《不朽》、《緩慢》、《無知》；短篇小說集：《可笑的愛》；評論集：《小說的藝術》及《被背叛的遺囑》；此外還有一部舞台劇劇本《雅克和他的主人》（靈感來自狄德羅小說《宿命論者雅克和他的主人》）。