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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  205,949 Ratings  ·  8,589 Reviews
A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals—while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortu ...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published October 24th 2009 by Harper Perennial Modern Classics (first published November 1984)
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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)
Lewisjohn547 I am currently reading the book after seeing the film a couple of years ago and I would say that the book is worth reading. I enjoyed the movie and…moreI am currently reading the book after seeing the film a couple of years ago and I would say that the book is worth reading. I enjoyed the movie and many of its themes and I've been enjoying the book even more. There are certainly some differences between the two and it is interesting to see what the book does that is not in the movie. The biggest difference, which has greatly contributed to my liking the book better, is that the book spends a lot of time on the inner thoughts of the characters; something I do not remember being done in the movie to the extent it is done in the book. I liked getting a better feel for the inner workings of Tomas and Tereza's minds as well as the minds of almost all of the other characters. If memory serves, the movie does do a good job on studying the characters but I think the book has more depth as it has more freedom to retreat completely into the thoughts of the characters and root out their motivations in a more interesting and more thorough way. To put it in a more succinct way, the book is even more of a character study then the movie was. I hope this helps. (less)

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
Jun 16, 2008 J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Apr 23, 2011 Megha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

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 it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 13, 2008 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
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
Sep 14, 2007 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  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
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
Amy Reed
Jan 07, 2008 Amy Reed rated it did not like it  ·  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
Mar 23, 2013 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Jen
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
Aug 10, 2007 dirt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 22, 2016 Afshar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jan 21, 2010 Weinz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ahmed Oraby
Oct 18, 2014 Ahmed Oraby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 17, 2008 Robin rated it did not like it  ·  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
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
MJ Nicholls
Aug 26, 2014 MJ Nicholls rated it liked it  ·  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
Oct 22, 2011 Eman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 100-core
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....
Diana Polansky
Mar 22, 2007 Diana Polansky rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 29, 2010 Aya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
256.The Unbearable Lightness of Being=Nesnesitelna lehkost byti=L’insoutenable legerete de l’etre : roman , Milan Kundera
کوندرا در توصیف قهرمانان خود میگوید: شخصیت های رمانی که نوشته ام، امکانات خود من هستند که تحقق نیافته اند، بدین سبب هراسانم، نیز آنها را دوست میدارم، آنها از مرزی گذر کرده اند که من فقط آن را دور زده ام

عنوان: بار هستی؛ نویسنده: میلان کوندرا؛ مترجم: پرویز همایون پور؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، گفتار، 1365، در 275 ص، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان چک قرن 20 م

Rinda Elwakil

هل ينبغي عليّ الكتابة عن هذه الرواية؟

"الصمت في حرم الجمال جمال..والصمت في حرم الجمال جمال..والصمت في حرم الجمال جمال"..

من مكاسب عام 2014 فيما يخص القراءة:
البرنس للغاية..ميلان كونديرا

أعتقد أني سأكتفي بالتقييم..لا أعرف كيف أكتب عنها.

كاتب مُفضّل آخر أًضيف إلي القائمة :)

حاجه تانيه ضروري جداً:
ماري طوق يا جماعة، ماري طوق..
أي حاجه عليها اسمها ثقوا فيها بمجرد النظر

بلغني من أحد الأصدقاء أنها تحولت لفيلم لم اشاهده بعد، لكن ها هو لمن يرغب في مشاهدته :)

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
Jul 24, 2011 Noce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Ian Gabogovinanana

(view spoiler)
Mohamed Shady
بما إنى مبعرفش اتكلم عن روايات كونديرا ف انا هتكلم شوية عن اللى قدرت أستقيه من قرايتى لكل أعماله.

ميلان كونديرا درس الموسيقى وأصبح خبيرًا بها.. هتلاقيه وظّف الموسيقى فى كل رواياته تقريبًا، وبيقدر يربط بين الموسيقى وشخصيات رواياته بطريقة مذهلة.. حتى تشبيهاته واستعاراته بتقتبس جزء من جمالها كونها تشبيهات بالموسيقى.
كونديرا فيلسوف كمان.. عنده رغبة، وقدرة، إنه يفلسف كل حاجة، حتى أكثر الأمور تفاهة وسطحية. على سبيل المثال: الجنس... كونديرا حوّل الجنس لروحانيات.. مبقاش مجرد معارك جسدية بين شخصين بيحاولو
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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...

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“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” 2611 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.” 2388 likes
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