A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals - while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel “the unbearable lightness of being.”
A major achievement from one of the world’s truly great writers, Milan Kundera’s magnificent novel of passion and politics, infidelity and ideas, encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, illuminating all aspects of human existence.
©1984; 1984 Milan Kundera; English translation © Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
I never got around to reading this when it first came out. Now I'm glad I waited. As a more mature person I found it very moving. Kundera weaves the stories of three major characters and several secondary ones around meditations and commentaries on philosophy, the nature of being itself, human uniqueness, sexuality, love, rebellion, and abandonment. Political context, especially Prague after the Russian invasion, gives him a chance also to meditate and comment on the nature of freedom, both inner and outer.
Another especially interesting and frankly jarring aspect of the writing was the interposition of dream sequences, deftly placed so that at first the reader (listener) doesn't immediately know whether the narration is of a dream or of reality.
The narrator, Richmond Hoxie, was superb.
Very highly recommended.
I love audiobooks but I think his is one that might be better read. I found myself having to rewind often to ensure I understood what was being said. Very good though, and the narrator is excellent.
Driving long miles across Wyoming can be soooo boring , but ever since I founds Audible my wife and I love to travel !
A friend recommended this book to me. It's completely outside my normal reading realm, but I've fallen in love with it. I highly recommend listening to it. However, do not listen then set it aside for a while, you will be lost if you wait too long. I believe both men and women would love this book.
Hoxie has a soothing voice and the narrative is consistently existential. German phrases and cultural references come up every once in a while. Philosophy references come up often in the theme of lightness and absurdism. Overall it was interesting just not thrilling enough. More of something to be expected with reality and less entertaining. Can be difficult to
follow because of time skips and references to the past throughout. Recommended for conceptual understanding not so much for excitement.
I would recommend this book to a friend who has experienced being both stuck in a relationship with a person, career, or movement and also disengaged at these levels at various times of his or her life. Having had these experiences I found the story helpful in assessing my own life. It also helps me appreciate the balance I have now found.
I most enjoyed the various combinations of characters and situations that exemplified what can happen when a person needing freedom to experience all encounters one needing connection to express all. In the story this came together for me in Tomas' son, Simon. He could give all to God while not burdening another human being.
He served as a transparent medium for the story, which held my interest, throughout.
I wanted to use this for my commute and took a week to complete the book.
This was my first Audible selection, and I look forward to others.
excellent performance, and the story is wonderful.
from the movie made after the book. the book as usual is much deeper and more rewarding.
Sabina for sure
The philosophical aspect of this book I found intriguing. The author did a mediocre job writing a story around it. I did find myself interested in Tomas, Tereza and Sabina and wanted to hear their story but every time I got into any rhythm, the author decided it was time to lecture. These lectures became tedious. There may have been kennels of wisdom within but there was also a lot of nonsense. Near the end of the book when the subject of "Kitch" was introduced I decide I had enough and did not want to find out what became of the characters. I quit the book without finishing.
The author is highly regarded. Why is it I feel he does not deserve this acclaim? Possibly too much is lost in translation? Or, could it be he is regarded more for ideas and not so much for his prose?
It is rare but in this case the movie version, dated as it is, is better than the book.
Fictional characters in narrative
Quirky and even a little sexy without being prurient if that makes any sense. Actually I forget the story, maybe something about a girl not getting her man but not particularly worried about it? The writing style was the thing I liked. The political conditions of a city and sexual politics also.
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