The Unbearable Lightness of a Being
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
There are books, which you read a bit and then look out of the window at the distant view. I do that to cushion the effect, such books have on me. There is a restrained violence that is packed into words in such prose. Un-put-downable is generally a word used for novels having chases and fights on the streets of couple of European or American cities.But, Milan Kundera's works are no where near the mad chases. Still they are un-put-downable.
An urgency in the story makes you flip the pages without knowledge. There's an erotic side to the characters in his stories. Words which are not generally associated with eroticism find their place in his work, in describing the chemistry between the characters. Sometimes , it makes you think of the helplessness of the protagonists that drives them to such permutations of extra marital art. The setting being the containment of freedom in the Russian occupied Czech republic, there might be very few freedoms beyond the scrutiny of the central committee or the Party. Sexual freedom might be one such exception which is never a threat against the state. Kundera's characters traverse in such a latitude. It is a world that's bounded artificially by the dictates of the state.Strange gestures take birth in times of emergencies like in the game of dumb charades. The conversations in his works signify a constant innovation of communication techniques to the reader.
Metaphors are another delight in his novels. From the toilet described as a water lily to the fur hat on the dictators balding head, everything is a metaphor. They are striking, intelligent, comical, quaint and beautiful. You would never look at something the same way after reading some of his metaphors. This is poetic prose. These days Poetry , as a free verse, might only hold out due to the abundance in metaphors. This is like beauty which has shed it's disciplined form of verse to a more wanton sexiness. Kundera makes you feel so.
He is honest, ruthless, ugly, rustic, stylish and satirical in his works. There is a simplicity that will make the reading easy. Some of the theories he propounds might be confusing but they are beautiful in their description. Read them and look out of the window then.