Fantastic story about a man with unique and complex ideas about the nature of his romantic relationships. Even better than the movie that was made in the late 1980's. Definitely thought-provoking. The author presents a unique way of looking at the world. I can't say the characters are admirable, but they are realistic and are presented from a sympathetic perspective. Highly recommended but keep in mind this is fairly cerebral, meant to be read at slow pace. Many sections stand to be read through more than once before proceeding.
Beautiful. The movie was good but this gave a far better feel of the story. And, duh, Milan Kundera is one of the best authors ever. Can't believe it took me 15 years to getting around to reading it. One of those types of books where you mark a page or ten because the phrasing is so personal and relevant to life in general. And yes, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" is explained and .... simply beautiful. You want to read it more than once. Stunning.
I enjoyed this a bunch and there were some real gem of quotes.
“Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.”
I could not bear to put this down once I started. This is a story that shouldn't be confused as anything other than the complete story of current and vintage humanity.I didn't want to read the whole thing in one sitting because then the fantastic, sensual, deep masterpiece would be finished. I had to put it down occasionally, only to be regurgitating the sentences in my mind and reviewing the concepts written in the book, in words I could never have come up with for things I have known for a long time. Could that be the sign of a brilliant writer- one who can beautifully and perfectly write things you have known for a long time but couldn't ever articulate? My friend who recommended it was so in love with the book that she got a tattoo of a bowler hat in it.
I love this book! It's set in Czechoslovakia during the Russian occupation. From the beginning, Kundera poses a question, whether living in lightness (free from the burdens associated with committed relationships) is really better than in weight (to be in a relationship despite the tribulations one faces). He employs editorial omniscience throughout the novel, using the characters to provide plausible situations the reader can relate to. It has a great storyline, but also allows the readers to venture into something more meaningful than just the average novel.
Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of the Being is a pithy masterpiece. The author captures the essence of the 'being' of four or five chief characters. He manages to describe their thoughts and deeds, what weighs upon their souls, what rescues their selves from onerous existence, in an achingly beautiful, yet unobtrusive way. The infidelity & philandering of Tomas, the doubts and dreams of Tereza, the artistic idiosyncrasies of Sabrina and the intellectual myopia and indulgences of Franz are as engaging as the philosophical and historical notes that flow through the story.
The novel is a deep and defining study of humanity in 20th century, of our hopes and failings, of the moral and material needs and our capacity for being tormented by our pasts and passions. There are paragraphs and paragraphs of poetic beauty, and yet everything is written in the most simple, straightforward sentences. The description of Karenin, the dog owned by Tereza, is brilliant, especially in the final chapter of the book. Another favorite chapter was on "words misunderstood", for in the romance between beings belonging to two different pasts and two countries, where seemingly same words assume drastically different connotations.
This is a mature novel, meant for readers who can look beyond the surface. On surface this is novel laced with sexual content and contexts, a novel that describes the gimmicks of communist Russia and their stay in Czech country, a novel that spurns philosophical ramblings interwoven with discussion about the "sh** being a onerous theological problem". On surface the novel is story of infidelity. But deep down this is a novel that strikes chord with the intelligent reader on so many different levels, be it romance, ethics, interpretation, or our own complexities arising from our own unique pathways of life.
The novel weighed on me, confronted me with many issues, ideas and memories, and then at times, it released me from my own suffocating and smothering thoughts and experiences. I highly recommend this novel. If you enjoy Lawrence, Joyce and Gibran, be introduced to Kundera, who carries the torch of modernist writing ahead: and in what style!
This is my absolute favorite book, and I bought it for my dad for his birthday since has said he was having writer's block. The movie based on this book was a love story and missed the point, this book itself is all in depth philosophy with a story about 3 relatable characters that help to express the concepts. Its a tough read but so beautiful. Personally, I prefer the audiobook.