Tag: Milan

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Posted February 4, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan KunderaTitle: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Goodreads)
Author: Milan Kundera
Translator: Michael Henry Heim
Published: Faber & Faber, 1984
Pages: 314
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is an existential novel about two men, two women, a dog and their lives. The book takes place in Prague in the 1960s and 1970s and explores the artistic/intellectual life of Czechoslovakian society during this Communist period. Tomáš is a womanising surgeon and intellectual, his wife Tereza is a photographer struggling with all her husband’s infidelities. Sabina a free spirited artist and Tomáš’s mistress and Franz is a professor and also a lover or Sabina. Then there is Karenin, the dog with an extreme disliking to change.

I know the synopsis doesn’t really do much to make this novel interesting but that’s just the basics of it. Really, this is a novel challenging Nietzsche’s concept of eternal recurrence. A concept which hypothesizes that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur. This book explores the idea that people only have one life to live and what occurs will only occur once and never again. The book also explores love and sex and whether the two are connected; for Tomáš they are not but for Tereza they are.

There is a lot more philosophical aspects to understand but as I don’t have much knowledge in those areas lets focus on the novel. This was surprisingly easy to read and lyrical and almost dreamlike feel to it but then there is a lot of emotional devastation as well. Not just with Tomáš’s actions but with the communist control over everyone.

From the very start you while see the gorgeous poetic prose within Milan Kundera’s writing and the unique plot concept will initially drive this book for the reader. Then you will continue reading it for the devastating beauty of love, sex, jealously, politics and existence. Once you finish, you might reflect on the philosophical and existential nature of this book. In the end it’s just one of those books that sounds a little weird and unappealing but is really worth reading.


Monthly Review – January 2013

Posted January 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As the first month of 2013 comes to a close, it has been amazing to see how much excitement people are having towards both The Shadow of the Wind and the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

I’ve been off to a flying start this year, I’ve read twenty books, a feat I’m not sure how I managed, but I’ve had so much fun doing so. Nine of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here. I’m thinking about trying to read two books for each genre this year and I’m keeping a record of every book and which genre it best fits into on that page as well, just to see which genres need more attention in my exploring.

Highlights of the month for me include; the highly talked about Wool by Hugh Howey, the bittersweet Big Ray by Michael Kimball and the existential The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. But the one I really thought deserves high praise is Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, a novel of great beauty, decorum and love lost. I haven’t reviewed these books yet but keep an eye out, they will come. So what have you been reading this month?

Monthly Reading

  • Big Ray by Michael Kimball
  • Black Vodka: Ten Stories by Deborah Levy
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
  • Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman
  • In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
  • Revenge: Stories by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
  • The Dark Winter by David Mark
  • The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick
  • The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block
  • The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Wool by Hugh Howey