English edition of Ignorance
|Cover artist||Marie José Paz|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Hardback and Paperback)|
Ignorance (French: L'ignorance) is a novel by Milan Kundera. It was written in 1999 in French and published in 2000. It was translated into English in 2002 by Linda Asher, for which she was awarded the Scott Moncrieff Prize the following year.
Czech expatriate Irena, who has been living in France, decides to return to her home after twenty years. During the trip she meets, by chance, Josef, a fellow émigré who was briefly her lover in Prague.
The novel examines the feelings instigated by the return to a homeland, which has ceased to be a home. In doing so, it reworks the Odyssean themes of homecoming. It paints a poignant picture of love and its manifestations, a recurring theme in Kundera's novels. The novel explores and centres around the way that people have selective memories as a precursor to ignorance. The concept of ignorance is presented as a two-fold phenomenon; in which ignorance can be a willing action that people participate in, such as avoiding unpleasant conversation topics or acting out. Yet also exploring the involuntary aspects of being ignorant, such as feigning ignorance of the past or avoiding the truth.