Ben’s review of The Unbearable Lightness of Being > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by C. (new)

C. Yay! I loved this book.


message 2: by Ben (last edited Jun 22, 2009 08:14PM) (new)

Ben Choupette, so far in a unique, special way, it is beautiful.


message 3: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I'm really interested what you'll think of this one.


message 4: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Choupette wrote: "Yay! I loved this book."

Me too! It's great.




message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim :)


message 6: by Chloe (new)

Chloe Yay, this is, by far, the best book that I've read all year. I can't wait to reread it again soon.


message 7: by Kim (new)

Kim :(

'Words Misunderstood' is the best.


message 8: by Kelly (new)

Kelly Heh. Jelly jar. I like that.


message 9: by Dave (new)

Dave Russell Kundera reminds me of Dostoyevsky in the way he'll interrupt the narrative to comment on it, sort of drawing back the curtains. Except I think Kundera's commentary is a little more playful and the threads between story and comment are more interwoven. Godard I suppose is the cinematic equivalent.


message 10: by Ben (last edited Jul 01, 2009 12:53PM) (new)

Ben I agree, Dave. I like it when writers use commentary and observations that help the story dig deeper into the character's minds and hearts. And interesting and sound philosophical observations can turn a novel from a good one to a great one. I also agree that Dostoevsky is more thorough and indepth with it than Kundera -- Kundera throws in insights without the strong dialogues (including inner dialogues) that Dostoevsky does. Playful new perceptions get exposed in this though, and you're right, it's in a kind of playful way. I liked it a lot.


message 11: by Jessica (new)

Jessica this book didn't grab me, but i like your review.
I read it many years ago, and should probably see how I feel about it now


message 12: by Ben (last edited Jul 01, 2009 12:16PM) (new)

Ben Thanks Jessica. It really surprised me. It's not in my top 5 favorite books of all time, but it's probably in my top 10. I'll reread it some day. If you do reread I'd be interested to hear if it grabbed you upon your second reading. There are tons of books I want to read again that didn't formerly grab me, but I think may now, at this different stage in my reading-life, and different stage in life in general...


message 13: by Jen (last edited Jul 01, 2009 12:35PM) (new)

Jen I loved Prague. I think it was because, if one got lost, as I did, it was possible to make rudimentary hand gestures representing a clock and the passing of time and people could easily guide you back to the heart of the old city. I also liked watching pick pockets make their moves on unsuspecting tourists on the bridge. It was wrong but so fun. Plus as an added bonus there were eager young men in powdered wigs shoving handbills at you for concerts. I pretended they were secret love letters and collected quite a few. Almost all of them involved Mozart, which was sexy. This you might not find so enjoyable.

Also, they had penis postcards. I would think it was a postcard I could send home, but then! look again! there's a penis there! Sorry mom!


message 14: by Ben (new)

Ben Jen, I sometimes get lost in the town I live in, so I'm sure I'd also like that about Prague. Luckily I'm traveling with my Swiss friend, Marc, who happens to encompass all the Swiss stereotypes. He's very organized and detailed oriented; very much a planner, and very good with directions. This is great for me, because I tend to be lousy at most of those things!


message 15: by Ben (new)

Ben Penis postcards? HA. I have a few people I may send those to.


message 16: by Jessica (new)

Jessica i'll take one Ben
;-)


message 17: by Michelle (new)

Michelle I loved your review, Ben. And, I'm very jealous of your Prague trip!


message 18: by Ben (new)

Ben Thanks, Matt! Thanks, Michelle! Matt, I'm impressed that you're going to be moving there -- that will undoubtedly be a life changing experience. I can hardly wait just to visit. I see you're into Kundera. I got the feeling that he put everything he had into this, but maybe not? I'll have to look into some of his other books. I can't pass up the chance at an experience similar to this one.

And Jessica, penis postcard coming your way! (I'll search them out -- hopefully they will still be there. If not, I guess you'll have to settle for something less exciting.)


message 19: by Jessica (new)

Jessica any czech pcard will do really, thanks!


message 20: by Chloe (new)

Chloe Crazy small world! We lived in Prague from 2004-2005 and it is still one of my favorite cities in the world. Our flat was about two blocks from the Charles Bridge on Naprstkova St. and there was the best tiny family-run restaurant directly across the street called Cafe Archa that you must go to. It maybe has four two-person tables, but the food is delicious (try the goulash) and they had my favorite Czech beer on tap (Krusovice). My mouth is watering just thinking about it.


message 21: by C. (new)

C. Great review, Ben! You reminded me of many parts of the book I'd forgotten (that line about sex and love is really great). I'm really glad you enjoyed it; I need to reread it.

I got the feeling that he put everything he had into this, but maybe not?

A few months ago I came across a novel of his in a second-hand bookshop. I didn't buy it, but the dust jacket gave the (very strong) impression that The Unbearable Lightness of Being was a prologue to the swelling act, kind of thing. Unfortunately I can't remember the title or the book, or exactly what the dust cover said.


message 22: by John (new)

John Ben, a good thorough job -- & while you're in Prague (making me jealous) look up the old haunts of Herr Kafka. Kundera owes him, big time.


message 23: by Ben (new)

Ben Choupette wrote: "Great review, Ben! You reminded me of many parts of the book I'd forgotten (that line about sex and love is really great). I'm really glad you enjoyed it; I need to reread it...."

Thanks, Choupette, we certainly agree and I completely understand your enthusiasm for this one. Maybe in a few months as we continue to trudge through our "to read" piles, we should try reading another one from Kundera at the same time and talk (er, write) about it with each other.


message 24: by Ben (last edited Jul 01, 2009 07:01PM) (new)

Ben John wrote: "Ben, a good thorough job -- & while you're in Prague (making me jealous) look up the old haunts of Herr Kafka. Kundera owes him, big time. "

Thanks, John! Will do! And perhaps I'll pick up another one of his books sometime soon. Been a long time, and Kafka is great.




message 25: by C. (new)

C. Yeah sure! Might encourage me to get a move on and read some.


message 26: by Kim (new)

Kim Yay!


message 27: by Ben (new)

Ben Damn right, Kimbo!


message 28: by Ben (last edited Jul 02, 2009 02:33PM) (new)

Ben Thanks, Alisa. I can understand the difficulty that you may have had feeling connected to it, as a lot of the thoughts that Kundera put forth didn't always directly relate to the characters, and/or storylines, in straightforward ways. Depending on the book, I think it's sometimes easier for someone to figure out why they did connect with a well-written work as opposed to why they didn’t, but I'm not sure with this, given the general theme of misunderstanding and disconnection that runs through it. I did see and feel a lot of the correlations between the characters and Kundera's philosophical ponderings, though, but didn't all the time -- but then again, I didn't feel that I needed to by the end, because I felt like the novel, when added up as a whole, had an important quality of truth and beauty to it. Of course, there have been plenty of novels that others have understood and loved that I just couldn't understand or get into, so a lot of it's personal taste, and past experiences, and timing, etc.

As far as this goes: maybe this book can be more personal after a break up-- I think that could very well be true. It's easy to look at past relationships in a different light after reading this, and with one fresh on the mind it makes the novel all the more relatable as a telling-piece of sorts on the miscommunications and disconnections that took place. Another reviewer wrote that she wasn’t surprised to get a phone call from her ex-boyfriend after she found out he was reading this – that comment makes sense given the new angles he may have started seeing their relationship through during his reading.

Thanks for your input, Alisa. Excellent feedback.



message 29: by Richard (new)

Richard Excellent review. Another book TBR, sigh.


message 30: by Ben (last edited Jul 02, 2009 08:05PM) (new)

Ben Thanks, Richard. My "to read" section is huge as well, but I found that by creating a "to read soon" shelf it helps me narrow things down a bit.

But yeah, definitely give this book a shot. Definitely.



message 31: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Bravo. Prague is amazing. Enjoy! I will add this one to my "to read" list. I basically read whatever you have read based on your reviews.


message 32: by Ben (last edited Jul 05, 2009 07:00PM) (new)

Ben Thanks, Nicole -- I enjoy discussing books with you, so I'm glad you find yourself interested in trying out some of the same novels. During the trip, we're also doing Amsterdam and Berlin, so hopefully those will turn out well, too.

Good to know that about Kundera, Matt. I'll be sure to pick-up one of his other books now. Cheers.


message 33: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Wonderful review!


message 34: by Ben (new)

Ben Thanks! I appreciate it!


message 35: by Xiaohe (new)

Xiaohe A+ review! :)


message 36: by Ben (new)

Ben Thank you, Xena!


message 37: by Demetrius (new)

Demetrius Burns Fucking brilliant review. This book changed my life and you reviewed it like a fucking boss. Keep writing, reading and thinking. I'll be following you, man. In the most creepy of ways ;)


message 38: by Ben (last edited Nov 20, 2012 09:55AM) (new)

Ben Thanks so much, Demetrius! I'm hoping to read this for a third time within the next few months. Amazing book.


message 39: by Tess (new)

Tess Bodart your review made me pick up the phone and ordered a copy of the book.


message 40: by Ben (last edited Dec 03, 2012 11:35AM) (new)

Ben It's amazing. And Kundera is very different from any other author you'll read. He's all about perceptions and the Big Picture, and he mixes story-telling with analysis to emphasize his points.


message 41: by binnudeya (new)

binnudeya Great great review!


message 42: by S (new)

S Loving your review!


message 43: by Mallory (new)

Mallory Love this review!!


message 44: by Azia (new)

Azia I really, really appreciated your review and it was well written.


message 45: by Carol (new)

Carol Great review, I feel like you grasped the same insightful ideas from the book as I did. I love reading other peoples' thoughts on books I love and your review did not leave me wanting.


message 46: by Enzo (new)

Enzo This was a fantastic review of one of my favorite books


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