Monday, July 18, 2016

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1st US edition)

My wife and I will be going to Vienna, Prague and Budapest in August for our holiday this year and I've been working through a themed reading list for the past month or so. I picked a number of books from each realm, from Franz Kafka to some more obscure Czech titles from the wonderful Twisted Spoon Press. 

Milan Kundera may be one of the biggest names in Czech literature, but somehow The Unbearable Lightness of Being has evaded me until just a few weeks ago. I have a number of friends who call Unbearable Lightness one of their favorite books and consider it a masterpiece, and I think the resultant high expectations had an inverse effect. But, with this trip coming, I decided to go for it and picked up a nice-looking hardcover.

It's great. Perhaps discovering it at a particularly formative era in one's life might elevate the book in a person's mind to masterpiece-status, but it wasn't quite there for me. The ideas in the book are immensely rich, but their presentation as a novel felt a little too 'serial', as if he could have better mapped out his ideas beforehand. Still, absolutely worth a read: as a "literary philosopher", Kundera is a tremendous voice.

Currently reading:
Marketa Lazarova by Vladislav Vancura

Currently listening to:
Blood Orange, "Freetown Sound"

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