Kundera, along with other Czech artists and writers such as Vaclav Havel, was involved in the 1968 Prague Spring, that brief period of reformist optimism that was eventually crushed by pro-Soviet forces. In his first book, The Joke, he gave a satirical account of the nature of totalitarianism in the Communist era.
After 1968 Kundera fled to France. Until 1984 his novels all took place in Czechoslovakia. After that time his novels became more cosmopolitan, with a more explicit philosophical content. He now writes in French. The novel Immortality is the clearest expression of his work from both times.