In this first work of nonfiction, Milan Kundera offers a "practitioner's confession" on the art of the novel. "Every novelist's work contains an implicit vision of the history of the novel, an idea of what the novel is," Kundrea writes. "I have tried to express here the idea of the novel that is inherent in my own novels." Kundrea brilliantly examines the work of such important and diverse figures as Rabelais, Cervantes, Sterne, Diderot, Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Musil. He is especially penetrating on "perhaps the least known of all the great novelists of our time," Herman Broch, and his exploration of the world of Kafka's novels vividly reveals the comic terror of Kafka's bureaucratized universe. Kundrea's discussion of his own work includes his views on the role of historical events in fiction, the meaning of action, and the creation of character in the postpsychological novel. His reflections on the state of the modern European novel in an era of "terminal paradoxes" are as witty, original, and far-reaching as his unique fiction.