by Hana Pichova
Southern Illinois University Press, 2001
Cloth: 978-0-8093-2396-8 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-8942-1
Library of Congress Classification PG3476.N3Z824 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54

In The Art of Memory in Exile, Hana Pí chová explores the themes of memory and exile in selected novels of Vladimir Nabokov and Milan Kundera. Both writers, Pí chová argues, stress how personal and cultural memory serves as a creative means of overcoming the artist’ s and exile’ s loss of homeland. In their virtuoso displays of literary talent, Nabokov and Kundera showcase the strategies that allow their protagonists to succeed as é migré s: a creative fusing of past and present through the prism of the imagination.
Pí chová closely analyzes two novels by each author: the first written in exile (Nabokov's Mary and Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting) and a later, pivotal novel in each writer's career (Nabokov's The Gift and Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being). In all four texts, these authors explore how the kaleidoscope of personal and cultural memory confronts a fragmented and untenable present, contrasting the lives of fictional é migré s who fail to bridge the gap between past and present with those é migré s whose rich artistic vision allows them to transcend the trials of homelessness.
By juxtaposing these novels and their authors, Pí chová provides a unique perspective on each writer's vast appeal and success. She finds that in the work of Nabokov and Kundera, the most successful exiles express a vision that transcends both national and temporal boundaries.