First Book of the New Year: The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Hello friends!

Happy New Year, we made it through one heck of year. This year is already off to a wild start, but I have hope going forward that change will happen and for the betterment of society and the world. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen over night, but it is coming. I clearly didn’t keep up well with my intention of writing a review every week last year. In fact, I failed quite terribly. But I am in a much better place mentally now– I’ve made a lot of huge changes in my life for the better and spent a lot of time soul searching, if you will. So going into this new year I am determined to get the blog running on a schedule and keeping up with my bookstagram that I’ve also started (if you’re interested in following me there @cassiereadsnreviews I will be posting a lot more content than here). I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and healthy. Here is my first review of the year: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

(Completed 1/5/21)

Rating – 4/5

“We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.”

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera is a philosophical examination of human relationships and why we exist as we do. The story follows two couples who’s paths intertwine determining their fates for better or worse. Six possibly insignificant instances push Tereza to follow her heart to Prague and into the arms of the womanizing Tomas, who takes her as his wife and greatest love, but refuses to end his countless liaisons. Simultaneously, the narration follows Sabina, a favorite mistress of Tomas’ and her loyal Swiss lover, Franz. Set against the backdrop of Russian occupied Czechoslovakia, The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a thought provoking piece of art that will cause you to sit and examine the meaning of life and how we live it.

While I overall enjoyed this book, I felt at times it could come off as a bit pretentious (although I’m not sure it is possible to write or discuss philosophy and the meaning of life without an air of pretension). I went back and forth on my feelings towards the characters, but I believe that is a sign of good writing as they had depth and were not just unlikeable or perfect. I could find myself relating to any one of them at certain points throughout the book. I found the narration style very interesting as the author is telling the story himself– or at least a fictitious version of him does. I also highly enjoyed the very short chapters, I felt that style really worked with the subject matter. I recommend The Unbearable Lightness of Being to anyone who enjoys intellectually stimulating books and deep, reflective compositions.