Chloe's Reviews > The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
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Jan 31, 09

bookshelves: 1001-list, fiction, philosophy, i_am_in_love
Read in January, 2009

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 Latin passion and willingness to fling oneself off the cliffs of insanity, then The Unbearable Lightness of Being is its Teutonic counterpart. This book is filled with enough neuroses, doubt and angst to keep Freudian analysts busy for thousands of billable hours and make the reader wonder whether love is even worth all of the trouble." I thought that would make a great beginning of a review. Then I kept reading and realized that my first impressions, that this is a book about love and it's fall-out, was a remarkably short-sighted interpretation of this grand epic.

Sure, this book deals with love, but only so far as we can say that life inevitably deals with love at some point along the way. Kundera's greatness is that he attempts to chart the intertwining paths of life that groups of people take and how chance encounters that mean so little to one party can have profound, life-changing ramifications for the other. How one person can be cursed to flit through life living only skin deep, the titular Unbearable Lightness, while another drags their guilt and lust with them like some albatross strung about their neck. How national identity does shape who we are, no matter how far we run from the country itself.

Any review that I could write of this book would do no justice to the book itself. It is beautiful. It is heart-breaking (I could title this review "Animals in Literature and Why They Kill Me Every Fucking Time"). It gives you hope for your own life and then rips it away at the last possible second. This is a book that makes you believe that writing is an art form and the grandmasters of the craft are sorrowfully few and far between. This is a book that I know I will reread again and again as the years go by and experience reshapes me along the way, if only to see how these different iterations of Logan react to Kundera's genius.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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dara Tell me how weird it is when you get to the part about a scent in his hair. Lolz.


Sally OOOOOOOOOohoooooooooooo, Logan you are going to love this! Best book ever!


Chloe Ofmatt, I freaking loved the part about the scent in the hair. I often carry smells on me that I have no idea of until my wife mentions them. Rather embarrassing whenever it happens, I'll admit.


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