Would you hate your friend if he wrote crappy poetry? No, but the problem starts when you let the crappy poet edit the works of the truly talented friend.And this is why nowadays we think of Kafka as a frigid moralist.In this collection of essays, Milan Kundera talks about great artists that were born before their time, artists whose time had to be created, artists whose tastaments were misunderstood by the well-meaning, but misguided sensibilities of others, who thought it was their duty to put them in a traditional mould. From style lost in translation, through well-meaning-but-really-bad-best-friends, all the way up to snooty conductors who wouldn't accept a new style, this is a book that covers how meaning is often lost in adaptation or translation.To me, this collection was powerful, not only because it showed me how important Kafka is (according to Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wouldn't have been the same without Kafka, because it was Kafka who showed him there was another way to write), but also because the overall message resonated very well with me. I'm not a native English speaker, but I study and do most of my work in English. Other than that, I have knowledge of five other languages, and out of them, I speak three fluently. I know how translation works, but I also know that knowledge alone doesn't convey meaning. Why do you think that most Japanese books sound ridiculous translated in English?Kundera's book does not make any groundbreaking discoveries, but nevertheless, I think it's an important work because it is so aware of difference and GAPS. Not just linguistic gaps, although those are there, but also cultural gaps, generational gaps, gaps of perception and even understanding. It's a book that shows that even your best friend can misunderstand you completely, and that true greatness needs some time to be appreciated. The overall sentiment, I think, is quite a humbling one.