Milan Kundera? Anne Raver? Jan Karon? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: The faithfulness and love exhibited by a pet dog can lead to an idealized perception. The Czech writer Milan Kundera has received credit for the following remark:
Dogs are our link to paradise.
I am uncertain about the accuracy of this attribution because I have been unable to find a citation. Would you please help?
Quote Investigator: The earliest strong match located by QI occurred in a 1994 article in “The New York Times” by gardening columnist Anne Raver. She discussing the death of her beloved dog Molly, and she referred to the novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera which included the depiction of a cherished dog approaching its final years. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1
Dogs, Mr. Kundera says, are our link to Paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.
It is essential to note that the opinion Raver ascribed to Kundera was not enclosed in quotation marks. QI believes that Raver was using her own words to present a summary of Kundera’s viewpoint. Later writers improperly placed the statement between quotation marks and attributed the words directly to Kundera.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1994 April 28, New York Times, Garden Notebook: A Loyal Friend, a Link to Paradise by Anne Raver, Quote Page C8, Column 5, New York. (Newspapers_com) ↩