[F] The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
This was the international It book of the Eighties. It is not overpraised: the book is philosophical and political while also being highly narrative and intimate, and it is as deep and serious as it is funny, sexy, and playful—all of these seamlessly woven into a text which outright questions, is it “better to be heavy or light?” The story opens with the surgeon Tomas, a womanizer, experiencing the “sudden clear feeling that” he is not going to “survive the death” of the woman lying beside him—a woman named Tereza with whom he believed he was having a fling. We follow his life, Tereza’s life, the life of his lover-best-friend Sabina, the life of Sabina’s admirer Franz, and the dog Karenin, and experience artistic and intellectual existence in Czechoslovakia before and after the Russian invasion. The discussion for this book will be dynamic. We will not only explore its exceptional craft but also dig into the questions posed in a 2015 Guardian article, Is Kundera, whom some argue is a misogynist, still relevant? What do we see when we read Kundera today?