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The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Milan Kundera is a Czech-born French writer. Originally, he wrote in Czech. From 1993 onwards, he has written his novels in French. Between 1985 and 1987 he undertook the revision of the French translations of his earlier works. He "sees himself as a French writer and insists his work should be studied as French literature and classified as such in bookstores." In his teens, he joined the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia which seized power in 1948. Although his early poetic works are staunchly pro-communist, his novels escape ideological classification. Kundera has repeatedly insisted on being considered a novelist, rather than a political or dissident writer. However, none of Milan Kundera’s novels fits into the traditional concept of the novel. Each is an experimental foray into the unknown. The Unbearable Lightness of Being was first published in 1984 in English and French translations. It is a rich and complicated novel that is at once a love story, a metaphysical treatise, a political commentary, a psychological study, a lesson on kitsch, a musical composition in words, an aesthetic exploration, and a meditation on human existence. The story is set against the background of the Prague Spring of June 1968, the Soviet invasion of the country that followed in August, and the aftermath of the crackdown on liberalization. The tale begins on a philosophical note, discussing Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return… You can listen online to free English audiobook “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera on our website. Enjoy it!

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