I’ve read hardly 2 books in almost a year now. My reading has been interspersed with leafing through essays and more essays. However, fiction, just 2. The upside is that one of them was a book of absolute genius. I would write an ‘On Reading…’ post for the author, however, I must admit that I’ve read him before and yet not latched on to him like I did with this book.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is one of the most riveting books I have ever read. They say that getting into the rhythm of the narrative takes a while, however it was just the opposite for me. He starts with quoting Nietzsche and on and on I went for 100 pages before my head became heavy. The story is about a man, a woman, the Czech uprising, another woman and her studio, and the place between their minds and well, their minds. Of course there’s a lot of Beethoven too, and again Nietzsche.
In the book, there’s a section which defines words. It outlines the book’s and might I say, the character’s own definition of words laced into the storyline. What Love means for one, what being naked means for another, and of course, what they mean to you and me. It’s nothing short of poetic and scathing at the same time. Multiply this by a million times and one realises all of us have our definitions, and we’re all damned to live together.
What I also liked about this book is that it says some very pertinent things, such as how compassion actually cripples us and happiness is found in repetition. As much as we crave change, humans are content only when what they know keeps repeating. How many people have told you that? While I was reading it, I was amazed at how this is not a sermon, but captures all facets of human beings succinctly. I kept wishing that I had written it. Then I kept wishing that I’d ever come to a point where I could write something like this.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a must read for anyone who calls themselves an avid reader. It’s crazy, rustling, poetic, vulgar, full of soul and seeming violence. It’s sheer wonder, and absolutely exquisite art.
A book review is in the offing. Soon. Soon enough.