The Lost Entwife Read-Alongs discussion

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The Unbearable Lightness > Week 1 Discussion: Parts 1 & 2

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message 1: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Presley | 119 comments Mod
Post your thoughts on Parts 1 & 2 here.


message 2: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Presley | 119 comments Mod
Oh my goodness, I'm already in love with this book. I devoured both parts 1 and 2 today and wow - I'm.. wow.

First of all, I love how Kundera is writing to us, the readers and telling us a story through the eyes of the author and not through the eyes of one of his characters. It gives this amazing feeling as if we are all spectating, watching what first one, then the other character does, analyzing their feelings and actions and reactions.

Part 1 really made me draw some interesting ideas about Tereza which were totally blown to pieces when I learned her story in Part 2.

Anyone else start the reading yet? What do you think of both Tomas and Tereza? What about Kundera's ideas on the "lightness" and "weight"?


message 3: by Zoë (new)

Zoë Danielle So here are my thoughts having finished the first two parts.

I really love the book so far. This is actually my fourth Kundera so I think I am a little less surprised by his style and able to just enjoy the writing. I also find that the story is perhaps more linear than some of his other novels are and more conventional/easy to follow in that sense, even though it does switch from Tomas in part 1 to Tereza in part 2.

When it comes to Tomas, I really think he is an ass and I can't imagine why Tereza would stay with him and was really happy when she went back to Prague and a little disappointed Tomas followed her! I was also pretty shocked by the part where Tomas just decided to stop being a father. His "rule of threes" was also really skeezy. So far my favourite character is definitely Karein.

I think this is one of those cases where I don't actually LIKE any of the characters but I am still totally pulled into the novel. Like always, Kundera offers some interesting philosophy, especially when he reflected on the idea that we can never really know what we want because we only have one life, a rough sketch that never gets properly filled in, so that by the time we know what we want we have already lived and it is too late.

As Lydia said, I really do find it neat how he talks to the reader, and loved when he said things like "It would be senseless for the author to try to convince the reader that his characters once actually lived. They were not born of a mother’s womb; they were born of a stimulating phrase or two or from a basic situation."


message 4: by Zoë (new)

Zoë Danielle ohh also this is my first readalong with The Lost Entwife (yay) and I'm not sure about the two hosts, is it better to keep my comment on Goodreads or the blog or would it be best to double post them to share with everyone participating?


message 5: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Presley | 119 comments Mod
Zoë wrote: "ohh also this is my first readalong with The Lost Entwife (yay) and I'm not sure about the two hosts, is it better to keep my comment on Goodreads or the blog or would it be best to double post the..."

You can do both, or one or the other - totally up to you!


message 6: by Lydia (new)

Lydia Presley | 119 comments Mod
Zoë wrote: "So here are my thoughts having finished the first two parts.

I really love the book so far. This is actually my fourth Kundera so I think I am a little less surprised by his style and able to just..."


It's interesting to me because I know someone exactly like Tomas - so I was able to understand him (even if I don't like him all that much). Tereza's motivations to stay with him become a bit more clear in Part 2 (and honestly, I think there's a bit of that age-old desire to change the man in her as well).

So glad to have you along on the read-along this month! Fantastic thoughts so far!


message 7: by Megan (last edited Feb 06, 2011 09:14AM) (new)

Megan (megoizzy) | 40 comments ok, i just finished parts one and two. what i'm most struck by is how readable it is. i thought kundera would be much denser, but this is actually quite tolerable. my least favorite part was the beginning with his philosophic rantings - that was just nonsense to me.

as for the story and characters, i found it easy to get through the reading, but i am not at all drawn in by the story. like zoe said, i find all of the characters distasteful and the story is bleak so far, which is definitely what i expected from kundera.

one thing i will note, having not read any literary analysis of the book whatsoever, is that i feel the two characters are meant to be archetypal czech characters. in a certain way, i think this book is to kundera was "dubliners" was for joyce - a criticism of his own people and the story of his own love/hate relationship with his country and people. kundera fled the communist regime and has lived out his life as a defector and refugee in paris, and i have to wonder if (like many things about the czech culture), he isn't plagued by an incessant guilt over that, and this story is his "ode" if you will to his own people.

i say all that having never read anything else by him. i just see a lot of parallels between the two characters and the czech people as a whole - tomas being the archetypal macho czech man who can't keep it in his pants and tereza being the overly week, demure-to-a-fault czech woman - both of them plagued by guilt and yet unable to leave their country or each other. even their names - tomas and tereza - are two of the most common czech first names, so it would be like naming two english leads "john and mary" just to make a point about how typically english they are.


message 8: by Zoë (new)

Zoë Danielle Megan wrote: "ok, i just finished parts one and two. what i'm most struck by is how readable it is. i thought kundera would be much denser, but this is actually quite tolerable. my least favorite part was the be..."
So far in my experience, Kundera has always dealt with the idea of being a refugee/immigrant in his novels, especially in Identity where the main female character similarly flee the communist regime for Paris like Kundera himself did. In that sense I do think his work is extremely autobiographical and drawing on the themes of his own life and like you said, he is drawing on that guilt when writing this novel.

I also agree that Tomas and Tereza seem a bit like archetypes, and that maybe Kundera is using them more to make a point than to make the reader specifically believe these people existed although as Lydia pointed out, people like them definitely do.


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