My Review: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

In a novel so heavy with metaphor, how important the translator’s role must have been.

Kundera packed a full curriculum on truth into 314 pages. More than one read is required to even begin scratching the surface of the philosophies he weaves. My first read was marveling at how simply he is able to communicate complex truths about time, life, mistakes, love, betrayal, weakness, strength, human nature, etc.

Just a couple of my favourite quotes:

We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotions—love, antipathy, charity, or malice—and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals. True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power.

To imagine—to dream about things that have not happened—is among mankind’s deepest needs.

The thing that gives every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us.

Love means renouncing strength.

Love meant the constant expectation of a blow.

Flirting is a promise of sexual intercourse without a guarantee.

We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? 

Tereza knew what happens during the moment love is born: the woman cannot resist the voice calling forth her terrified soul; the man cannot resist the woman whose soul thus responds to his voice.

The sadness meant: We are at the last station. The happiness meant: We are together.