Why you should read ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’

Synopsis: In his book, Milan Kundera explores such concepts as ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ and ‘Kitsch’ through the past and present lives of Tomas the womanizer, Franz the idealist,Sabina the mistress of both men,and Tereza the young wife of Tomas. In so doing, Kundera manages to gives us a new and very plausible outlook on life.

Reasons why you should read ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ :

1. New outlook on life!
As I said in the synopsis, Milan Kundera gives readers a different outlook on life.For instance, he makes the audacious statement that God must have bowels and that dogs,as opposed to humans,never left paradise.Although such reflections may seem far-fetched,they are nonetheless substantiated by Kundera;he constantly construes the Bible and other famous texts from a different perspective,thereby reaching unusual conclusions.In this sense, Kundera doesn’t invent things.Instead he makes us see them differently.For this reason,‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ is a highly inspiring novel that you should read before you die!

2. The Incredible Lightness of the Book.
The chapters in this novel are really light and never boring.In fact,the book is divided in 7 parts that are in turn divided into very short chapters,each of which consists of 4 pages at most. Moreover,Kundera’s real talent lies in his ability to explain abstract concepts-like the unbearable lightness of being itself-in a very simplistic manner.Thus the structure of the book coupled with Kundera’s minimal style contributes a lot to making your reading of the book an enjoyable and memorable experience.

3. Tons of idiosyncrasies!
‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’
was written in 1982,so it can rightly be called a post modern book. Thus,it is unsurprising that it is filled with the same idiosyncrasies that contributed to the trademark style of modern and pre-modern authors such as Arundhati Roy, Virginia Woolf or simply James Joyce.In his book,Kundera switches back and forth not only between the past and the present,but also between characters and characters.Such freshness and originality- a far cry from the archaism often found in pre modern books- ensure that readers are never bored with the book.

4.Funny yet touching!
Kundera is rather an unflinching author;like Woolf and Palahniuck, he describes things as they really are and doesn’t gloss over them.As a result, he shows us that tragic events in our lives,which are meant to distress us to a great extent,do have a slightly humorous side that we tend to tend to overlook all because of our grief.In this respect,the book very closely resembles ‘Fight Club’. However,dark irony aside,‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ is a compelling book that will subject readers to a myriad of emotions:some events will be really funny,while others will really be poignant.

Things you might not like in ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’:

1. Not for all readers!
Despite the striking simplicity of the book,especially in regard to its themes,if one isn’t interested in abstract concepts or psychology,I doubt that he or she will love the book. Besides,this novel is perfect for those who are very open-minded,mature and in quest for other ways of looking at life.So,if you’re used to read easy books that do not require much thinking,Kundera’s book might not be the one for you.

2.Sexually explicit content!
The sexually graphic content is the reason why I said this book is perfect for the open-minded.An unflinching author,Milan Kundera doesn’t wish to hide anything in the lives of his characters from us,so inevitably,we have to bear with the ‘lewd’ passages.However,rest assured that ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ has nothing in common with ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, for the former talks about sex only to demonstrate how the past and certain mannerisms of its characters effect on their sexuality.In short,Kundera talks about sex without any reserves,and I opine that he is right to do so.Besides,sex isn’t omniscient in the book.

Verdict:  ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ is a compelling novel-absolutely one of a kind.In fact,its features go way beyond those of a typical book: I would venture to say that it is very much like a case study,in that it explains various concepts via the lives of its characters.Eventually,when it is time to part from them,the reader feels a bit nostalgic and moved because he/she has learnt and felt so much from their often-tragic lives.Really, this book is a must-read for readers who seek originality,simplicity,freshness and intelligence in a novel.Read this book,and your outlook on life will change thereafter!


5 thoughts on “Why you should read ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’”

  1. This book was my first Kundera and I remember being so absorbed in it that I must have read about 40 pages before I actually paid for it at the bookstore.
    I love how you said, “…Kundera doesn’t invent things.Instead he makes us see them differently.” That book changed so many of my perspectives on life (for the better) and made me more accepting of the way the world and life is. It’s truly inspiring and life-changing.

    I also realized that it’s one of those books that’s kind of “hard” to give to someone. A lot of people I’ve discussed this book with said it’s too boring or Kundera’s “too pushy”. I guess it’s one of those “you either love it or you hate it” books (haha) I’m glad that you like it though! 😀

    Have you read any others by him? My three favorites are The Unbearable…, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and Immortality.

    1. True,true!
      This book changed my life as well.No other book has given me as much insight as this one.My favourite line is undeniably: ”Kitsch is the denial of shit in our life”.I also like what he said about animals; animals never left paradise,men did.

      And yes you’re right.I know many people who’ll be disturbed by it.They may think that the bit about Nietzsche is boring or that the sexual parts are too graphic.A friend besides was not impressed by the book,much to my surprise! It’s a shame though because this book is a masterpiece and cult classic.

      I haven’t yet anything else by him yet,but I’ve been planning to.I guess I’ll pick the two you mentioned! Given how much I liked this one,I am really looking forward to reading other things by him.

      If you wish to read a stories that change your perspective about things or whose endings will stun you,try reading Borges’s Labyrinths.His status as one of the greatest authors to have ever lived is not usurped.His prose is very hard to get into,but I can assure you that his stories are very rewarding. 🙂

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