Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

For some reason I associated this book with certain other books I held in lesser regard as far as contemporary literature was concerned. However, after some friends recommended it, I decided to pick it up.

It's pretty great, like modernism in a contemporary setting. I love the cohesiveness that comes from it's intentional lack of cohesiveness. It seems to float along, changing subjects whenver it wants to, returning to and evading earlier ideas throughout. I guess that's where the title "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" comes from.

It's ostensibly about some people and their relationships. Events that shaped their lives, and the lives that they shape through events they undertake. It has a political theme involving the Soviet invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia (I think), but it seems to be more about how people deal with threats, attacks, things they can and can't control, etc.

I'm not done yet, but I like it so far. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to read something smart and slightly depressing. It's one of those books where the deeper you look the more you get, so read it slowly.

Here's an excellent quote:

When she told her French friends about it (her distaste for parades and marches), they were amazed. "You mean you don't want to fight the occupation of your country?" She would have liked to tell them that behind Communism, Fascism, behind all occupations and invasions lurks a more basic, pervasive evil and the image of that evil was a parade of people marching by with raised fists and shouting idential syllables in unison. But she knew she would never be able to make them understand. Embarrassed, she changed the subject.

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