Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera ★

The Unbearable Lightness of Being13% and I'm done.

I have had a run of books that have bored me, or annoyed me, or just did nothing for me. This one is... You know, I don't even know how to describe this one.

I pretty much hated it from the first page. I do not understand the high rating on Goodreads for this book. I can barely stand the thought of picking it up again and reading more of the words telling me things about characters that I could not possibly care less about.

We have Tomas, whom we meet standing on his balcony and vacillating between whether he should ask a woman that he's "in love with" (read: met in a chance encounter and became infatuated with) to move in with him. He's saved from making any kind of fucking decision by her showing up on his doorstep (literally) with her bags packed and ready to move in. Which she does. And then she clings to him (literally) every night - to the point that he controls her sleep patterns. He even, charmer that he is, fucks with her partially-asleep mind and tells her that he's leaving her forever, so that she'll chase him and drag him back home.

Tereza (that's the woman - I had to look up her name) begins to have nightmares that he's cheating on her and forcing her to watch after finding a letter from a woman in Tomas's drawer describing that very thing. So then, in the course of a sentence, we learn that Tomas has never stopped womanizing, then that he lied to Tereza about it, then tried to justify it, and now just tries to hide it from her, but won't stop.

And she stays. He gets her a dog, because the dog will hopefully "develop lesbian tendencies" and love Tereza, because Tomas can't cope with her and needs help.

So yes, Tereza not only stays, but marries him.

Why? *shrug* The book said so.

So then war comes, and they relocate... but after a while Tereza leaves Tomas (taking the female dog that they named Karenin and now refer to using male pronouns... Maybe to make Tomas feel as though Tereza has a lover as well? Who knows. This book is so stupid...).

She leaves him, and I think, "About frigging time." There's no reason for her having decided to leave him NOW, as opposed to any day of the 7 previous years of dreading him coming home smelling of another woman, of fearing that every single woman she sees will be her husband's next conquest. She decided to leave now... because the book said so.

And then he realizes that he can't be without her, and goes to her, and she takes him back, and then he realizes he feels nothing for her but mild indigestion and "pressure in his stomach and the despair of having returned".

I am a character reader. I need characters that I can identify with, that I can understand, maybe like... but these were none of those things. I don't know them, I don't understand them, I don't identify with them in any way... and I don't want to.

I just want to stop reading about them.

And so I did.

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