Rereading: Unbearable Lightness of Being

I had so much fun last week making my Bloomsday post that I began thinking about other books I love and reread often. And I wondered how they would translate to a similar treatment.

Unbearable Lightness of Being immediately came to mind. It is one of my favourite books and one that my relationship with has evolved in beautiful ways over the 15 years (!) since I first read it.

Of course, it was also made into a movie. And although Kundera disliked the production, it is also one of my favourite films. The book is so strongly visual and each character has such beautiful talismans that I loved seeing it translated to the screen. And the cast is one of my favourites too.

But the book is arguably even more about ideas than characters or plot. I've always gravitated towards books with a strong philosophical undertow and Kundera is a master of this. Some of those ideas are fuel to my darker ideas about life and love, to my notorious angst. But, at the same time, I'm inspired, transported even, by those ideas too.

The title itself poses and betrays a recurring question: Should life be light or heavy? Should we pursue untethered freedom or bind ourselves to one another and to place. And can we know which is better when we only have one shot at it. Einmal ist keinmal. One time is no time at all.

Product / image credits: Bowler hat from Dapper Dean / Kundera publicity photograph for Faber and Faber / Unbearable Lightness of Being / Oedipus by Sophocles / MGM movie still / Only Hearts camisole from SSense / Prague postcard by Martin Novak / AP photography on 1968 invasion via Guardian / MGM movie still
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