saras, May 3, 2010 (view all comments by saras)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is a beautifully written, thought-provoking novel. The questions raised by Kundera forces the reader to think about how they judge others. Achieving “lightness” in life is different for everyone. Judgment blocks one’s ability to see if another is truly light.
The novel takes place in Europe and follows the love life of a married man named Tomas. Tomas is a brilliant surgeon who continually has lovers on the side. Though his life is unconventional Tomas is content and light.
Overall this story made me think most about the ways in which I judge how others live. We never really know if someone has found lightness or happiness. Openness is much more effective than judgment. Kundera writes, “Happiness is the longing for repetition” (298). Tomas’ happiness is created in his repeated relations with other women as well as his wife. “The thing that gives us our every move it’s meaning is always totally unknown to us. Sabina was unaware of the goal that lay behind her longing to betray. The unbearable lightness of being-was that the goal?” (122). Everyone searches for happiness. The object, activity or person that fills us with that happiness or lightness is different for all. For Tomas being in that state of lightness is much more important than the controversial moral decisions it takes him to get there.
This book raises many question regarding happiness, judgment and morals. Readers will gain perspective and develop opinions on the deep questions Kundera raises. The Unbearable Lightness of Being truly captures literature as an art form and is a very effective piece of literature.
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Barbara Lightheart, December 12, 2007 (view all comments by Barbara Lightheart)
The book was mesmerizing, the characters still feel alive in my mind years after reading their stories, and for what it's worth, I found the film adaptation to be the best translation of the written word to the screen that I have seen. Personalities, sets, relationships and the underlying philosophy of the book inform the film to the most satisfying degree.
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Kundera's tremendously popular classic has been hailed by "Newsweek" as having "raised the novel of ideas to a new level of dreamlike lyricism and emotional intensity". It was also made into a major motion picture starring Daniel Day Lewis and Lena Olin.
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