The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel
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In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera tells the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover. This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places; brilliant and playful reflections; and a variety of styles to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world’s truly great writers.
heard his eighteen-year-old daughter, Marie-Anne, holding forth at the other end of the room. Excusing himself from the group presided over by his wife, he made his way to the group presided over by his daughter. Some were in chairs, others standing, but Marie-Anne was cross-legged on the floor. Franz was certain that Marie-Claude would soon switch to the carpet on her side of the room, too. Sitting on the floor when you had guests was at the time a gesture signifying simplicity, informality,
feeling (Czech, sou-cit; Polish, wspol-czucie; German, Mit-gefuhl; Swedish, med-kansia). 11 In languages that derive from Latin, compassion means: we cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer. Another word with approximately the same meaning, pity (French, pitie; Italian, pieta; etc.), connotes a certain condescension towards the sufferer. To take pity on a woman means that we are better off than she, that we stoop to her level, lower ourselves. That is
under her fingernails, Tereza unwittingly revealed that she had gone through his desk. If Tereza had been any other woman, Tomas would never have spoken to her again. Aware of that, Tereza said to him, Throw me out! But instead of throwing her out, he seized her hand and kissed the tips of her fingers, because at that moment he himself felt the pain under her fingernails as surely as if the nerves of her fingers led straight to his own brain. Anyone who has failed to benefit from the Devil's gift
and ever, it will stutter, stammer, gasp for air like Alexander Dubcek. The carnival was over. Workaday humiliation had begun. Tereza had explained all this to Tomas and he knew that it was true. But he also knew that underneath it all hid still another, more fundamental truth, the reason why she wanted to leave Prague: she had never really been happy before. The days she walked through the streets of Prague taking pictures of Russian soldiers and looking danger in the face were the best of her
quickly gulped down the first and held the second in his mouth for an ostentatiously long time, flaunting his victory over the two of them. Standing there watching him, they thought once more that he was smiling 169 and that as long as he kept smiling he had a motive to keep living despite his death sentence. The next day his condition actually appeared to have improved. They had lunch. It was the time of day when they normally took him out for a walk. His habit was to start running back and