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Old 07-18-2007, 03:05 PM   #1
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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I´ve stumbled across the existance of this book by Milan Kundera and want to read it. I´ve read the excerpt that´s included in amazon.com for it and still feel very interested in the whole concept of "lightness" of choices and lifestyle and how it´s terrible and how this light way of living has heavy repercussions. Even when I think I got, I still don´t feel like I´ve completely managed to wrap my head around it, you know?

I´m guessing somebody here has read it and can help me out tring to figure out if what I think about these concepts of "light" and "heavy" are right or if I´m far off.

...discuss.

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Old 07-18-2007, 03:20 PM   #2
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Yeah, that's sort of the idea - that a life of lightness, or not being invested enough or in touch with feelings and people and promises, is kind of awful. The book is also seeped in the typical E.European communist oppression elements. And it's got lot of commentary and philosophizing so if you like a fast paced plot driven noel it's not for you.

I liked it but I found myself forcing myself to read it at some points. I also felt like I could have used a good discussion group/class to enhance my understanding of it, but at the same time, I don't know if that would have made me like it more, or if that much exposure to what felt very tedious at times would have been a turnoff.
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:28 PM   #3
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saw the movie- i dont know how or why daniel day lewis ever got considered a sex object-
all the armpit sniffin was a turn off
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:31 PM   #4
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I think Eastern Europeans will have a much easier time understanding the book because it resonates culturally, like Varitek said.

I really enjoyed it, although my Czech is not good enough for this type of book, so I had to read the English version. But it wasn't a bad translation, actually.
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:59 PM   #5
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I read it for one of my college literature classes years ago and really liked it. I still have it on my bookshelf but haven't re-read it in a long time. The author did an amazing job pulling off non-linear storytelling and lots of philosophizing without seeming the least bit pretentious.

The movie was awful, though. I didn't make it all the way through despite my adoration for Daniel Day-Lewis.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:38 PM   #6
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I wanted to kind of make sure if I got the concepts right about what lightness and heaviness mean to the author, though...


...and no, this isn't for any sort of homework. I'm just curious.
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:13 PM   #7
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This thread got me re-reading the book!

I haven't gotten all the way through it, but very early on the author points out both the positive and negative aspects of lightness, and the positive and negative aspects of heaviness.

Here's an excerpt that might help you, BrownEyedBoy:

"The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man's body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfilment. The heavier the buren, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.

Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden cause man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant."
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Old 07-20-2007, 09:24 PM   #8
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The Unbearable Lightness of Being was one of the first books that really challenged me to rethink my understanding of the novel form. I first read it during my first semester of grad school. Kundera tosses out a lot of the more traditional devices writers usually rely on, or else he uses them in different ways. In the book, metaphors and ideas take precedent over characters and plot. It can be a little tough to get used to, because it's not the sort of book where you read to find out what happens next.

Kundera's Art of the Novel is also an interesting read. It's a book about writing, but not the typical how-to book.
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Old 07-21-2007, 04:57 AM   #9
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I have also read this book quite some time ago and reading people's responses have made me want to read it again ...

I really loved the movie too .. one of my very favourite films
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