LT / The Unbearable Lightness of Being

12:06:00 AM

To say that Milan Kundera changed my life is an understatement. His novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, has become my personal bible since the first time I read it in my junior year in college. I've re-read it seven times since, and every time I read it, I gain new insights. The book hasn't changed, but I have, and that's what makes all the difference.

Even the cover has character.
It's not an easy book to read. It's not Harry Potter that I finished in one sitting, hungry for the next installment. It's not The Millenium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) that I devoured in a single weekend. It's not The Invisible Circus that I read in under six hours with a box of Kleenex.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is something that I had to read in parts. The shortest time I finished the book is one week, because at the end of certain chapters, I needed to stop, digest, and reflect. The author posed questions, both direct and indirect, that can really alter one's perspectives.

Contrary to what the title might tell you, this book is nowhere near light. The starting point is Friedrich Nietzsche's idea of eternal return, which the philosopher claims to be the heaviest of all burdens. Kundera explores the idea through this wonderfully-written seven-part story of four people, Tomas, Tereza, Sabina and Franz, whose lives are intertwined by love, sex and war. 

The part of the novel that left an indelible mark on me the first time I read it revolves around the polarity of lightness and weight. This is an ambiguous dilemma. Weight implies difficulty, and difficulty could be a source of fulfillment once we overcome it. Lightness implies ease, freedom, and this freedom makes our actions insignificant. What should we choose, then? To this day, I have no answer.

I think it's fine time for me to read the novel again. Although I'm not an authority in literature, this is something I highly recommend! If you haven't read it yet, grab a copy and start now. Or if you're not a reader, you can watch the 1985 film adaptation starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin. 


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Hello, reader! Thank you for wasting your time reading my blog. I do hope you enjoyed whatever you stumbled upon. :)