Kundera’s French novels often blur the delimitation of the several voices of the text (author, narrator, reader, characters) because of the evasiveness of their criteria. The characters thus display more mobility and flexibility in a shifting narrative textual space. This clever game of masks (a reflection of virtual evolutions of our present world), is handled by a masterly irony which reduces possibilities of getting a hold on these ultra-modern identities. But, paradoxically, such identities must originate in some in some powerful, highly productive matrix.
As some writers would use metaphor or cryptic writing, Kundera’s irony places a mask over an identity that purports to remain unreachable. The reason why irony is always Kundera’s most eloquent device might well be that this author’s vision of the human condition is branded with the purposelessness of the quest for the self, if not even the vanity of accepting its existence.
Nevertheless, surprisingly, the diverse identities of author, reader and character seem to be rooted in a single individual. This game of musical chairs is open to an unlimited number of experiments with reality. Between dreams and waking state, between truth and falsification, pictures of a multiple self are offered rather than the unique image of an ego. However “Kundera” still settles in the site of authority, as he did with regards to the translations of his works. What is it then to represent oneself in such a way, do you still represent yourself at all when you do it as the supreme ironist?