The Unbearable Lightness of Being Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is an existentialist novel by Milan Kundera centering around Tomas, a Czech intellectual living at the time of the Soviet invasion in 1968. Tomas is a womanizer, regarding sex and love as separate entities, and maintaing an extramarital affair with his friend Sabina. His wife, Tereza, fears, though begrudgingly tolerates, Tomas' infidelity. The book's central philosophical questions lie in the tension between lightness, associated with caprice, and heaviness, associated with commitment.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Book Summary

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

takes place mainly inPrague

in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It explores the artistic and intellectual life of Czech society from the Prague Spring of 1968 to theinvasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union and three other Warsaw Pact countries

and its aftermath. The main characters are: Tomáš, an adulterous surgeon; his wife Tereza, a photographer anguished by her husband's infidelities; Tomáš’s lover Sabina, a free-spirited artist; Franz, a Swiss university professor and lover of Sabina; and finally Šimon, Tomáš’s estranged son from an earlier marriage.

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