Film -- Kundera, the Unbearable Lightness of Being
When Milan Kundera wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being, he was a political exile from Czechoslovakia, living in France, whose books were banned in his native country. Thus, it is not surprising that his fiction addresses oppression and its instruments, particularly language. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera's character, Tomas, is converted from surgeon to window-washer for refusing to cooperate with the authorities. Unlike Malcolm's subject, however, Tomas comes to find this transformation a personal reprieve, a feeling which is aided by the numerous sexual dalliances his new position affords him. Kundera's portrayal of Tomas's fate and his book's success in the west only exacerbated the sense of injury felt by those who had stayed in Czechoslovakia and had lived out the reality that Kundera 'improved on' in his fable of totalitarianism.
The novel is primarily philosophical and ironic,...
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