The always useful and entertaining Maciej Ceglowski explains better than I ever could exactly how hard The Unbearable Lightness of Being sucks. “The Dave Matthews of Slavic Letters” is just about perfect. It’s a dumb, trashy book.

But he fortunately doesn’t stop there. The rest of the article provides a guide to the best in Slavic dating literature! Including one of my personal favorites, The Good Soldier Svejk.

But if you really still just need to get laid, the Kundera is there for you. The cock has its reasons than the mind knows not of.

13 thoughts on “Unbearable

  1. Dyslexia hit me and I read your first paragraph all at once and I parsed the opening sentence as “The always unbearable and trashy Maciej Ceglowksi”, and realize that too was appropriate.

    1. Vice versa for me, I thought the movie was interminable and seemed to gravitate towards the worst aspects of the book. Not to mention that I empathized with Daniel Day-Lewis’ Tomas even less than the one in the book, although that’s probably to his credit.
      I guess I just fall somewhere in between thinking this is a “dating book” and thinking it’s total trash.

  2. The implication that the book serves no other purpose besides establishing relationships is a pretty weird bit of hyperbole — funny, but not particularly relevant to why she thinks it’s a badly executed book.
    And, for the record, I liked it. Perhaps I’m just shallow.

    1. The reason that I (and he) see it as a “Getting Laid” novel is that it’s sexy and about sex, but with an aura of sophistication. Inviting someone over to watch a Skinemax softcore flick is cheesy. Inviting someone over to watch Henry and June or The Unbearable Lightness of Being is the college educated lecher’s way of closing the deal.
      What was your reaction to the book? I doubt somehow that you’re shallow.

      1. Hey, I want to jump in here, because I too liked this book. Trouble is I see the plot as a shallow romp centered around the male character’s ego–that annoyed me. Yet I also find that he does a wonderful job of portraying that oh shit feeling at the bottom of the heart that comes with morality and feeling oneself doesn’t really mattering in the universe.
        Also I just love that the book ends in this timeless moment when you know the characters are going to die but they haven’t yet. They are in the midst of their lives and, for me, in some way their dance continues indefinately and yet is made more spectacular because they die shortly after.
        Have I been seduce by pop existentialism?
        Thanks for the link–the article pleased me. I’m so glad he mentions which translation of the Master and the Margritta to get, since other versions cut out a full third of the book.

      2. That’s an interesting and different take on Kundera’s book. I know I’ve been seduced by pop existentialism, and the sonofabitch didn’t even call the next day.
        I recommend a nice slow readthrough of idlewords.com. He’s a fine writer.

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