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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  192,169 ratings  ·  7,982 reviews

A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover -- these are the two couples whose story is told in this masterful novel. In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lo

Paperback, 314 pages
Published 1987 by Faber & Faber (first published November 19th 1981)
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Nathalie Gagnon He's the best. I enjoy philosophy amd psychology and this guy is a genious... If this is now your favourite then read everything he wrote...
He might…more
He's the best. I enjoy philosophy amd psychology and this guy is a genious... If this is now your favourite then read everything he wrote...
He might even surprise you some more :). I really liked Slowness, Ignorance and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
Virgil Gheorghiu wrote a book called La Vingt-Cinquième Heure (The 25th Hour?) which is also pretty close... You might like it.(less)
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Community Reviews

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I was hesitant to start this, and figured for awhile that it would be one of those books that maybe I’d get around to or maybe I wouldn’t. It just didn’t seem like something I’d enjoy – it seemed too soft, or too postmodern, or too feel-good, or too based in hedonism, or too surface oriented. What caused me to give it a shot was the simple fact that I’ll be traveling to Prague in a few weeks, and since the book's setting takes place there, I figured it may put me in the mood for the trip. I figu ...more
Steve Sckenda
Mar 17, 2015 Steve Sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Erotic Bohemians
Recommended to Steve by: Phillip Kaufman
“Metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.” - Milan Kundera

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” is the story about love in a time of despotism. During the Prague Spring of 1968, Tomas, an intellectual Czech brain surgeon, sexually conquers scores of women in a vain attempt to try to forget that he, himself, is neither free nor living a meaningful life. Reality crashes when Tomas falls in love with Tereza and when the Soviets crush the
There is probably one novel that is the most responsible for the direction of my post-graduation European backpacking trip ten years ago which landed me in Prague for two solid weeks. Shortly before my friend Chad and I departed, he mailed me a letter and directed me to get my hands on a copy of Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Just read it, he wrote. Whatever else you do, just read this book. It is about everything in the world.

Being already a Kafka fan of some long-standing,

Kundera is an unconventional writer, to say the least. If you are looking for fully fleshed characters or a smooth plot, The Unbearable Lightness of Being is not for you. Kundera merely uses plot and characters as tools or examples to explain his philosophy about life, and that is what this novel is all about. He will provide a glimpse of his characters' lives, hit the pause button and then go on to explain all about what just happened, the philosophy and psychology which drives the lives of his
Riku Sayuj
May 13, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Riku by: Abid Hassan

The Unbelievable Lightness of The Novel

I had started reading this in 2008 and had gotten along quite a bit before I stopped reading the book for some reason and then it was forgotten. Recently, I saw the book in a bookstore and realized that I hadn't finished it. I picked it up and started it all over again since I was not entirely sure where I had left off last time. I was sure however that I had not read more than, say, 30 pages or so.

I definitely could not remember reading it for a long pe
منذ متى وانا لم اقرأ رواية بتلك الروعة ...
ميلان كونديرا أعادني من جديد الى عالم الروايات المترجمة الذي كنت برحته منذ زمن ليس بقليل ..
من أين جاء كونديرا بكل هذه الفلسفه ...وهذه المعاني الراقيه
يطرح كونديرا تساؤل عميق حول "" إمكانيةإدانة ما هو زائل؟ "" بمعني هل يمكننا الحكم على صحه او خطأ أفعالنا أن كانت حياتنا هي واحده فقط ...
وعلى ضوء هذه الأشكالية الفلسفيه العميقه يقص علينا حكاية الدكتور توماس وحياته ...الصدف التي تحكمت فيها و إختياراته التي تسببت في تغيير مساراها أكثر من مره ...

الدكتور توماس كا
Sep 14, 2007 Nathan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Suede fans.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being was almost unbearable to read. There was a lot of pseudo-intellectual meandering about things that deserved a little more grit. Rather, I prefer a little more reality. I didn't care about the characters, and I didn't feel like they cared about anything. I feel like saying I was impressed with the thoughtiness of this book, but by the time I typed it I'd be so buried under multiple levels of irony that I'd suddenly be accidentally sincere again. What was I saying ...more
This book definitely wins the award for Most Pretentious Title Ever. People would ask me what I was reading, and I would have to respond by reading the title in a sarcastic, Oxford-Professor-of-Literature voice to make it clear that I was aware of how obnoxiously superior I sounded. Honestly, Kundera: stop trying so hard. Chill. Out.
When I first started reading this book, I really disliked it. Kundera wastes the first two chapters on philosophical ramblings before he finally gets around to telli
Amy Reed
Jan 07, 2008 Amy Reed rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE
I have a bone to pick with Kundera and his following. People, this has got to be the most over-rated book of human history. I mean, references to infidelity alone (even infidelity that makes use of funky costumes like '50s ganster hats--the only note-and-applauseworthy aspect this book!) do NOT make for good literature, and such is The Unbearable Lightness of Being, in a nutshell. The male protaganist is, hands down, a one-dimensional and boring buffoon, while the female protaganist is lackluste ...more
13% and I'm done.

I have had a run of books that have bored me, or annoyed me, or just did nothing for me. This one is... You know, I don't even know how to describe this one.

I pretty much hated it from the first page. I do not understand the high rating on Goodreads for this book. I can barely stand the thought of picking it up again and reading more of the words telling me things about characters that I could not possibly care less about.

We have Tomas, whom we meet standing on his balcony an
the people in this book have a lot of sex. 75% of the book is getting down and doing the nasty (or thinking about it). the sex parts are written in that lofty academic language of "heat" and "passion". the word moist is used liberally. all the really raunchy stuff about body fluids is left out. though probably not too much fluid was exchanged because these people fucked and fucked and fucked and never had babies. the really interesting stuff comes between the sex parts.

the book is propelled alon
Rarely do I come across a book which stubbornly evades categorization of any kind, managing to keep the reader behind a veil of mystification till the very end. Like while you were reading, the book kept on giving you one insightful glimpse after another into the convoluted workings of the human psyche. But when it ended, whatever the narrative managed to encapsulate within the scope of a few hundred pages, vanished in a puff of smoke without leaving any tangible proof of its prior existence.
I spent part of my lazy weekend reading this book on the grassy hills of The Huntington Library surrounded by gardens, art, and beauty. Even the serene surroundings and my sensational reading date could not make up for this book. Weak characters, horrible assumptions, pseudo philosophy, and no clear grasp of how women are actually motivated.

Only wannabe Lotharios who pride themselves as philosophers would enjoy this.

I tried. I really did.
It's rare that I come across a title and intuitively tag it as an oxymoron; rarer still, I continue to silently contemplate the space lying between the duo.

Unbearable Lightness. How is lightness, unbearable? Isn’t it the right of heaviness for all I know? But the oxymoron is further granted a neighbor – Being. And that muddles up the equation for good.

What is Being? A floating mass of dissimilar silos, each absorbing and dispersing in surprisingly equal measure to stay afloat? Or a concrete str
Ahmed Oraby
يا إلهي!
ما هذا القئ؟
هذا الرجل عجيب
له القدرة على أن يعطي للسخف والتفاهة هالة من العمق
لم تعجبني أبدًا
هي أسوأ ما قرأت هذا العام بعد روايته الأولى، الجهل
التي أرى أنا فكرتها مكررة هنا أيضًا.
ولكن، علام تدور كل هذه الرواية وسابقتها أيضًا؟
تقريبًا نفس المحاور الرئيسية
أولًا : الحديث عن الحرب
وهنا أقصد حربه التشيك ضد روسيا الشيوعية
يتجلى فيها نقمه الشديد على روسيا والإتحاد السوفييتي
ثانيًا : الحديث عن الكتب
وهو ما كان ظاهرًا في شخص تيريزا
وفي إسم الكلبة كارينين
ثالثًا : الحنين إلى الماضي أو لعنة النوستالجيا
You know those books that you finish and then immediately begin again because they were just that good? That's what happened with Unbearable Lightness and me. After turning the page on the incredibly heart-wrenching last chapter, I needed to begin it anew so that I could savor those doughnuts of wisdom that Kundera tosses out like they were stale day-olds.

After reading the first few chapters of the book, I wrote a note to myself that said "If Love in the Time of Cholera is a representative of La
Oct 17, 2008 Robin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Robin by: Book club
Shelves: bad-books
I felt this book was contrived and to me it seemed as if the author tried desperately to sound intellectual. Instead he came off egotistical. First off all the meandering about Nietzche and quite frankly he set me off to start off by making statements I couldn't agree but he goes right on as if it is a trueism that everyone must believe in.

To be quite frank the characters were boring. The prose was uninteresting. There was no emotion, no real depth, and how many times to I have to hear about hi
MJ Nicholls
Aug 26, 2014 MJ Nicholls rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MJ by: Book Group Laddie (#1)
A good Europop lit-fic offering—a bit outmoded now, like Snap! or 2Unlimited. But still compelling fodder for philosophising undergrads with higher aspirations than erotic encounters with their right hands. The narrator is droll, sardonic, wise, and almost unbearably smug. In fact, I thought about using the line The Unbearable Smugness of Being but I decided not to because . . . drat! Also: I have vivid memories of the film version, where Juliette Binoche’s underpants ride up her crack in a most ...more
Huda Yahya

لا يوجد وصف حاضر في ذهني
لا توجد كلمات تسعفني
أشعر بالعجز التام

كلما ارتأيت مفتاحا مناسبا
للكتابة عن هذه التحفة خذلني قلمي
أرتبك وأتحير وأتلعثم
وأصمت كثيرا

أولم يقولوا
"والصمت في حضرة الجمال جمال"

تعلمني الرواية
-نعم أقول تعلمني لا علمتني
لأنها لاتزال للآن في دمي
تعلمني أن أتواضع كثيرا

أن أتعلم رؤية العالم بطريقة جديدة
بروح جديدة

أن أعود كائنا بدائيا يفتح عيونه بدهشة
ويتعرف على الخطوط،،الألوان،،الأصوات

كل شيء جديد ومبهر بعيون كونديرا

سأعود بعد قراءتي الخامسة ربما
ربما أستطيع أن أكتب شيئا

أما الآن
فلا شيء سوى
Diana Polansky
Mar 22, 2007 Diana Polansky rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
"Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman)."

A philosophical window into love, passion, jealousy, and duty--set during the Russian invasion of the Czechoslovakia. When you read this, you will re-evaluate your relationships--past and present--and wo
لا اعرف ان كنت سعيدة من الانتهاء من قرأتها أم حزينة ؟ كانت رواية رائعة .. عميقة ..دفينة ..واقعية ..فلسفية..بعدها الإنساني في دواخل المرأة والرجل ،علاقتهما المصيرية ،و دواخل الإنسان التائه في هذا الكون ...الرواية تستاهل رفيو مرررتب :)


هذه الرواية كالحلم تعبر به الى عوالم الداخل الانسانية تساؤلات عظيمة طِرحت عن ... المصير...الاختيار... المسؤلية …. الحمل "ثقيله وخفيفه"...حاله من الافكار الوجودية مع خلفية سياسية اقتصادية ذات ايقاع انساني يعرج على الثقافة والحضارة والإيمان والفن....
هل هي الثقل أم الخفة أم الأثنين معاً؟
هل هي رواية أم تحليل نفسي أم فلسفة حياة أم إعادة تناول لمفاهيم الحياة؟
هل هي جانب من الحياة أم كل الحياة؟؟
بدايةً هي أول قراءاتي لكونديرا ولن تكون الأخيرة بعد قراءتي لهذه الراوية، فقبل أي شئ بهرني أسلوب كونديرا في السرد، وللحق سألقبه بـ "الحكاء الذكي" نعم فهو يتمتع بقدر من الذكاء ما يجعلك تعض اناملك بعد كل سطر تقرأه ، لا بل كل سطر يهمس به في أذنك من شدة الانبهار، فلم أشعر معه بملل ورتابة الروايات بل شعرت به يهمس في أذني بتفاصيل الرواية، إحترم وقدر القارئ في كل
بار هستی برایم فراتر از یک کتاب بود
شیفته آثار کهن و کلاسیک بودم و نتوانسته بودم با آثار مدرن ارتباطی برقرار کنم
شاید چون انسان های عصر جدید را نمی فهمیدم
ولی کوندرا در این کتاب مثه یک جراح ماهر،شخصیت ها را کالبد شکافی کرد
و این کتاب یکی از بهترین تجربه های کتابخوانی ام شد

خواندن این کتاب شگفت انگیز نزدیک به چهل روز طول کشید
هرروز نهایتا می توانستم 10 صفحه بخوانم
برای من که آنموقع روزی 50 تا 150 صفحه می خواندنم چیز عجیبی بود
ولی مگر می شد از یه خط براحتی گذشت؟
با اینکه از سبکی تحمل ناپذیر هستی می گفت و
I have a weakness for intelligent discussion of the human condition. If an author can take normal situations and delve into the metaphysics in a detailed and impressive fashion, four stars are guaranteed. And if they pose an idea that forces me to sit back in silent contemplation for a while before reading on, well. Five stars is almost not enough, especially if this occurred less than five pages in. I know that's a very early time to decide on the rating, but my decision never wavered as I prog ...more
The Weightless Burden of Non-being

There are few books which give its reader complete freedom to get lost and get found. Despite the thematic title Kundera chose to give, there are a million angles to be derived from this asymmetric, anachronistic, perplexing and intriguing masterpiece. It's as if you sit and form your own book in your head, with your own thoughts.

To the motivic question (Which is better, a burden to drive you or a lightness to let you be free?), I reply: Should we even ask thi
Di come l'ingenuo lettore viene gabbato, e anziché leggere un romanzo, si avventura nelle fitte e deliziose trame di un testo a fronte.

Per un attimo fate finta di essere ancora sui banchi di scuola.
Per un attimo siete di nuovo al Liceo.
Entra la professoressa di Latino e Greco.
“Oggi faremo Il De bello Gallico”. Bene!!
Riuscite a vedervi? Siete quelli con la faccia annoiata in terza fila.
La vostra docente incomincia a leggere. Lei sì, che è concentrata. Perché sa.
Voi potete forse capirne il s
محمود حسني

هي خارج التقييم .. بالتأكيد هي خارج أي تقييم

والخمس نجوم هنا مجازا بالنسبة لي كي أعبر عن صدمتي ودهشتي

لم أقرأ لأحد يكتب بمثل هذه الطريقة أو حتى يقترب منها

مدهشة هي قدرته على التعبير عن الأفكار بمثل هذه الكثافة

دعوني أتذكر هنا روعة ترجمة ماري طوق وأن أتقدم إليها بشكر خاص .. ولو في وسعي أن أقبل يدها - على الطريقة الأرستقراطية - تقديرا لها ما ترددت لحظة في فعل ذلك

عندما كنت أسير فيه ببطأ كسلحفاة رددت الخطأ إلى كسلي او انشغالي ولكن بمرور الصفحات تيقنت أنه ليس هناك من خطأ

مثل هذا العمل لا تستطيع أن ت
رواية غزيرة، كثيفة، لا أصدّق بأنّها لم تكن سوى صفحة ! لقد التقطتُ أنفاسي كثيرًا أثناء قراءتها وابتعدت .. ابتعدت لأنّه من المرهق قراءة رواية كهذه !

كونديرا الّذي يتحدّث إلى قرّاءه أكثر بكثير ممّا يكتب لهم، يقاطع أحداث روايته فجأة وينقل إليهم رأيه الخاصّ في الفكرة الإنسانية، وكونديرا الّذي يمتلك قدرة عالية على التّلاعب بالزّمان والإحاطة بالحدث من زوايا عدّة، فهو يروي الحدث نفسه موجّهًا عينيه صوب تيريزا تارة وصوب توماس تارة أخرى، فيلهمك الكثير .

في بداية الكتاب كنت أشعر بأنّه ينتزعني انتزاعًا وبأنّه
أحمد أبازيد Ahmad Abazed
ما ليس منه بد !
الحبّ يولد من استعارة واحدة !
حياةُ واحدة لا تكفي للمعرفة ... أو للمحاكمة !
الظلام هو اللانهاية التي يحملها كلٌ منا في ذاته أجل إنه ليس على من يبحث عن اللانهاية إلا ان يغمض عينيه !
في الجنس وحده يبدو فرق الـ0.01% كشمس !
توماس , تيريزا , سابينا , فرانز , كارنينا !
بارميندوس , أفلاطون , ديكارت , نيتشه !
كونديرا صانع الأعاصير
Initially, this book left me unsettled, confused as what to think. I felt like I wanted to retreat back to a book with a more traditional plot structure and character development. Instead, Kundera unabashedly reaches out beyond the story to pull threads from philosophy and history, subordinates his own characters to his philosophical musings, and circles back on his own story with a different emphasis the second time around.

I also didn’t know which character I should like. At times, all the cha
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Milan Kundera is a Czech and French writer of Czech origin who has lived in exile in France since 1975, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1981. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, and The Joke.

Kundera has written in both Czech and French. He revises the French translations of all his books; these therefore are not conside
More about Milan Kundera...
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Immortality The Joke Laughable Loves Identity

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“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” 2519 likes
“Anyone whose goal is 'something higher' must expect someday to suffer vertigo. What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, Vertigo is something other than fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.” 2251 likes
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