Review- Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”


Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” (translated from the Czech by Michael Henry Heim) (1984) – Boring. And not in the way that people in my generation (and those younger) call things boring because they’re offended by something and want to brush it off. Genuinely not interesting, causing me to woolgather more than usual while reading it. Was/is the craze for Kundera part of the pre(?)-history of the Eastern Bloc — and the Czech lands in particular — being seen by westerners as a site of dispassionate, decadent sexual libertinage? Did this schmancy postmodern book prefigure the way in which the Czech Republic is synonymous with grindingly formulaic pseudo-amateur porn for millions of deeply lonely millennials whose main cultural outlet is the ‘tubes? Probably not! But thinking about that problem is more interesting than the comings and goings of Horny Czech, Horny Lady Czech, Lady Czech Who Believes In Love But Is Also Horny, Horny German Who Isn’t Quite Horny Enough To Make Anyone — Especially Women, Who Need A Real Man No Matter What They Say — Happy, etc. Or his philosophical maunderings, all of which are based on the idea that if everything happens but once, that means all of it is meaningless and hence, weightless. That seems exactly backwards for me. If everything is unique, wouldn’t that make everything rare and weighty? Probably he says something like that towards the end — this seems like the kind of book that deploys rope-a-dope epiphanies towards the end like so many ejector seats on a F117 meeting its first Serbian militias — but honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention towards the end. **

Review- Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”

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