I’m two-thirds of the way through Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being and half sure I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s about. What we have here is a book (not novel, mind you) that is divided into three parts: one-third story, one-third analysis of that story, and one-third “the world according to me, the narrator.” Of course these three parts are all interwoven to produce a solid chunk of literary peculiarity.
One of the issues I have with Dostoyevsky is that he makes it entirely too easy to predict what will happen next by giving the reader all the necessary clues. Kundera does the exact opposite. I can never, ever predict what the characters will say or do next, and they do things completely outside the scope of what I would have imagined them to do. One minute, the main character is a doctor. The next, he’s a window washer, capitalizing on numerous opportunities to engage in passionate extracurricular activities with housewives. Though the capitalizing he does is not surprising, his career move is very much so.
Afterwards, the narrator, following the model I explain above, dissects the main character’s actions. I expect him to eventually give a “the way I see it…” kind of shpiel. I find this structure amusing, though, at times, I just want the narrator to get on with the story. But since there’s only one-third left, I wonder how much more unpredictability he can fit into the book…Powered by Sidelines