The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

This book happens to be one of his most famous titles, but it was not the first Kundera book I read in my lifetime (It was Testaments Betrayed). And now I know why so many people are obsessed with this Unbearable Lightness of Being. I hesitate in writing this post. I wanted to read it ten times before I write about it. But given the 300+ titles on my reading list plus a Coursera Intro to Finance course from Ross School of Business, that might not exactly be plausible. And while I am sick and unable to do anything else, allow me to write about it even though I am personally not worthy to write about it. LOL.

There is nothing light about this book. It’s perverted in the crudest sense, intelligently written, and creatively worded from cover to cover. Kundera has created a tapestry of words depicting love story and Czechoslovakian history. It possessed a rich backdrop, a compelling and unique frontline story between Tomas, Tereza, Sabina, and all those memorable characters my memory has committed to remembering forever. I know that becoming a sage literary master like Milan Kundera is a distant dream. But I can at least try to be competent with the style of writing that I do know by now.

I remember an old INTJ-suspect boss telling me how he quit reading after a few pages of this book. He said he could not understand what Kundera meant and even asked me to explain. Que horror. A literary genius’ creation can never be explained by a novice like me. But all I have is utmost respect for this book and the themes it represented that my poor head was able to grasp to a certain degree.

All praises on my end for this book. It’s an 11 on a scale of one to ten. My favorite Kundera signature is how he discusses semantics and links it to a plot. He can play with the plot and make it seamless albeit non-linear. He uses a word, makes an entire discourse about it, and gingerly inserts it in the center of the main character’s action. All this he does while not boring the reader. I don’t know what fiction experts call it, but I like it.

The love story of Tomas and Tereza itself is interesting and unique. It did not have the sappy sentimentality of commonplace romance paperbacks. But it had discussed love and lust to a different degree. Despite the non-fairytale approach, they achieved what I surmise to be a happy ending, anyway.

(Note: When I make reviews, I dislike slicing and dicing each nook and cranny to the point of producing spoilers. I just provide enough background information so as not to spoil a potential reader’s experience.)

Unbearable Lightness of Being gave me ideas on what Czech life was like at the setting depicted in that novel. It was a challenging time to be in, and it is what made everything more poignant at every turn. I just know that it will be one of those books I’d keep even when I decide to sell other titles someday. It showed me the power of words and reminds me of the effect of words which are woven to perfection by able hands such as that of Kundera’s.

Thank you for this creation, Mr. Milan Kundera. You are such an inspiration to fledglings like me. 🙂

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