Milan Kundera’s philosophical novel, ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’ begins with the story set against the background of the Prague Spring period of Czechoslovak history. The story is based on the philosophical note, discussing Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return.
Kundera merely uses plot and characters as tools or examples to explain his philosophy of life. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is totally for those who enjoy thoughtful and intelligent literature.
Unbearable Lightness of Being Analysis
The plot laces 4 main characters: Tomas; the doctor, Tereza; waitress/ photographer, Sabine; the lighthearted painter and Franz; the professor.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being doesn’t follow the conventions of the realistic novel; the fact regarding the death of the main characters is revealed long before the incidents actually occurs, thereby undermining the plot’s suspense; a major character is familiarized toward the termination of novel and then disappears, and a section is told from the point of view of Tereza and Tereza’s dog.
However, this creates and resolves a central conflict among these characters and it does occur within an identifiable social and unchanged.
From the very initial Kundera implements a question; whether living in lightness (free from the burden of committed relationship) is better or in weight (committed in a relationship despite tribulation sometimes).
The author has smartly weaved a plot using the characters to provide plausible situations the readers can relate to. With the flow of story, the personal and sexual lives of these four characters are intimately bounded by the social and political realities of Czechoslovakia prior and following the Russian invasion.
I must say this novel gets the readers engaged in the contradiction he has posed to venture something more meaningful rather than just normal novels.
Although the review has many comments regarding the unreality of fictional characters, Kundera has successfully created his four amazing and believable characters whose fate matter to readers. Hence, this book has been one of the most widely read books and praised novels.
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