Review: The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Milan Kundera’s novel centers around Tomas and Tereza, a Czech couple, and is set in Prague for the most part.

Some might say it’s a story about love, some might say it’s a story about faithfulness and the nature of relationships, but if you ask me none of that manages to capture the essence of the novel.
These are all just parts – ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being‘ is bigger.
As a whole, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being‘ is a powerful, yet humble, portray of human existence.

Milan Kundera doesn’t hit you over the head with pages full of pompous, poetically inflated philosophical lectures. Instead, philosophical musings are so beautifully interlaced with the episodes from the lives of the characters and so authentic and down-to-earth in language, that you sometimes hardly notice them.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have an impact though. They are also just part of a whole, fragments of something bigger.
Everything in this novel is fragmented. It’s not a continuous, linear narrative. The stories of the characters are told in episodes, in bits and pieces, from different angles and not in chronological order.

And yet, despite being so fragmented, it’s complete.

Reading this novel, I imagined Milan Kundera as a composer of music, writing the different lines for the various segments of his orchestra, and then, in directing the orchestra, weaving all those separate strands together into a wonderful, harmonious, complete melody.

I can’t think of any book that has touched me this way before.

There surely were books before which had a profound impact on me, but not in this way. This was different. This is special.
Without a doubt, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being‘ is one of the best books I have ever read.

If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do. You’re missing out on something amazing.


final rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ [5/5]


17 thoughts on “Review: The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

    • Well, the major focus of the novel is the relationship of a Czech couple, Tomas and Tereza and Tomas – I think that much I can tell without it counting as a spoiler, seeing as it’s also in the blurbs – happens to be a womanizer. So their relationship isn’t always easy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. One of my favourites!
    I’m glad I read this novel when I was just starting to read books seriously. Three years after, this book is still unforgettable. I especially like the bits about God and intestines, dogs and paradise, and the concept of Kitsch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved this book, and I should revisit it soon. Your sentence about Kundera as a music composer reminded me of his other book “The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.” Have you read it? It’s seven sections that he calls “variations” which kind of come together to form a “symphony.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not read that yet – this was the first book by Kundera I’ve ever read (why in the world did I wait so long?). That sounds amazing though and really reminds me very much of I how I felt about this one, so I’ll be adding this to my tbr now 🙂 I meant to add more Kundera anyways 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This book was highly recommended by a German friend (Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Seins). Interested to read another good review. I just haven’t got round to reading it yet.
    Thanks for following me by the way. – will reciprocate. I like some of your review choices

    Liked by 1 person

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