Author: Milan Kundera
No. of pages: 357
Genre: Literature, fiction, philosophy
Translated from: Czech
Year of publication: 1984
In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera tells the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover. This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places, brilliant and playful reflections, and a variety of styles to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world’s truly great writers.
Just like The God of Small Things: I really enjoyed reading this work of literature, but it was very vague at times (at least, to me). In my spare time I don’t necessarily like to read philosophical literature, because, in order to appreciate it and to somewhat understand the underlying thoughts of a story like The Unbearable Lightness of Being you have to do a lot of research on the context, metaphors and such. At least, I know I do. I really don’t know the first thing about Czech history or about Stalin (I wasn’t really good in history or philosophy at school). So the parts that directly took place within that context (a lot) I didn’t understand at all. But the other passages, where knowledge about the history of the Czech Republic wasn’t necessarily needed, I really enjoyed. The writing style of Kundera is really light with a lot of beautiful sentences and scenes, I just had to read at least twice.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I will remember this story for very long. Some parts just didn’t make any sense to me, because they were philosophical or needed research, and the book became quite confusing at times. In my opinion, some scenes or events didn’t really add anything to the plotline. I’m still not fully sure what the exact plotline was, but then again: literature is a very broad concept and it doesn’t necessarily need to have a concrete plotline.
I think, if I feel like it, I will be able to appreciate The Unbearable Lightness of Being more when I read it for a second time. Or I may even just watch the film!