The Unbearable Ligthness of Being : Milan Kundera

I was always curious about Milan Kundera since I heard about him on all book forums I visit. To add to the curiosity factor, the big, bold book title words on plain white book cover (I couldn’t find an image of that book cover) always attracted me. All Kundera books have the same book cover design and there were so many titles to choose from and I wasn’t sure what would be a good one to start with. After reading the synopsis and discussing with some readers on the forums, I decided to pick up The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

The title was intriguing and I couldn’t wait to start my Kundera book. Expectations from the book were high, after hearing strong recommendations and praises for this book. Some readers called this book as philosophical, so I was all the more interested. The book is philosophical, no doubt, but puts across the author’s opinions through a story. This book is fictional but the philosophical passages that intersperse the book are the author’s inner voice conveying his thoughts to the readers and these passages are the best part of the book.

Kundera presents his thoughts on human nature and their quirks through his characters. After narrating a story, Kundera goes on to postmortem some important incidents and puts across his reasons for the behavior of his characters. While Kundera brings into life a few characters with their quirks, I prefer Maugham’s way of describing characters. When you read Maugham, you feel as if you met a new person and are familiarizing with that person.

Did I like this book? I am not so sure. I won’t be running to the library to pick up another Kundera book, but I won’t shun it either if I am given a chance. This book is somewhere on the border – liked some parts of it. The philosophical passages are interesting to read.

Will I recommend this book? With some reservation, yes. If you haven’t tried Kundera berfore, then you should definitely read this book. For all you know, you might love it, like so many people out there.


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