A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals - while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel "the unbearable lightness of being." A major achievement from one of the world's truly great writers, Milan Kundera's magnificent novel of passion and politics, infidelity and ideas, encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, illuminating all aspects of human existence.
©1984 Milan Kundera (P)2012 Canongate Books in partnership with Faber and Faber Ltd
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Excellent book about a philosophical way of life. Recommendable for all audiences. My first Kundera experience and am looking forward to more!
"An Absolute Joy"
Definitely. A delightful jigsaw of stories overlaid with non-judgemental "light" philosophical asides.
I enjoyed several of the "philosophical" tangents that the narrator took. They added depth to the story, gave us insight into the characters that we'd not have gleaned from the story alone, creating humanity beyond what would be in a more conventional storyline. A third dimension.
My impression is that Richmond Hoxie was extremely familiar with the book. He had just the right levity at times when it was needed but also created the characters perfectly.
This book lives up to it's hype. Worth the time, extremely enjoyable. More than "just a story".
"Strives to be deep"
There are parts of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed. There are moments of great beauty through skilful prose and a thoughtful story. However, I think you can only enjoy an opinionated book if you agree with the opinions expressed. Unfortunately, in enough of the cases to spoil it, I did not.
My other complaint is quoting the ancients to prove your point rather than illustrate it. Euclid was a truly great mind - it took us a couple of thousand years to show his work as incomplete, but eventually we moved past him.
I would go as far as to say I could possibly be a fan of the author, but not the philosopher.
I know others have found this book very deep and enjoyable - it is well written, so I am wary of putting another reader off it just because I didn't enjoy parts of it.
"A wistful and wise sideways look at "reality""
Kundera's work is always profound. His characters face all the usual dilemmas thrown at us by life and the complex business of being "human". Some characters soar above the mundane, others are sucked down by it. Kundera never tires of throwing us the deep questions - the plot is richly drawn with a sweet and sour mixture of humour and sorrow. This is provocative philosophy wrapped in a vivid sugar coating of human endeavour and intrigue.
"Emotional and happy memories"
I read this at university and it brought back lots of memories. Great story bit of philosophy, bit of love, bit of history, and all good. Throughly enjoyed it, narrated well.
"Gave up half way"
I just lost interest, wasn’t sure where the story was going and there a few disturbing themes at times. I did not enjoy it at all. Sorry.
The narrator was very pleasant clear and I happily listen to her again.
"Breaking News: Famous classic is really good"
The reading was very well done. He brought me close in against the feeling of the book and prevented it from ever getting dull, as a more prosaic, dispassionate reader could have.
I don't think there's anything i can say about the book which hasn't been said better by others. It's a book of philosophy / psychology but unusually dense with substance. Expresses every idea with a very high ratio of beauty to wordcount.
The book will affect how I see things for a long time. Particularly the idea that there are at least two correct and valid ways of seeing the same situation e.g. a strange coincidence.
The prosaic and factual one which says 'By law of probability coincidences are bound to happen constantly.'
And the poetic view which intelligently seeks out and appreciates the beauty and conceptual nuances in such events.
To limit yourself only to the former view is to rob yourself of beauty in your life.
That's something I'm going to change.
"pretty sexist and painful"
I just didn't like the book
The overt Madonna and the Whore style sexism
Yeah, he did pretty well with what he had
I couldn't finish this one. Not for the empowered female listener.
"the unbearable listening to of bollocks"
This book does not follow a classic structure and uses the characters to expound philosophical theories, some of which are good, but most left me scratching my head. and as you are bombarded with so many theories, the book suffers from a lack of focus.
There will be some people who will completely disagree with this assessment and give it 5 stars and I can understand that assessment, as at times the book seems like is going to burst into life. It just didn't do it for me.
Like other reviewers, I gave up on this. I found no profundity in the book, just a simple idea done to death and I got bored with it and gave up before finishing.
"Something to fall asleep to in the bath"
Listened to this for roughly thirty minutes and twenty of those i spent asleep so i think that sums it up.
Another book I couldn't finish! I listen whilst driving and this book did not grip me and I found my mind wandering.
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