The Unbearable Lightness of Being Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Bayley explores how Kundera balances lighter, more eternal elements in his novel with the weight of reality and mortality.

Like most novelists of the present time Kundera is a theorist of his art, not only weaving ideas about it into the texture of the fiction he is inventing, but making the invention itself, and the characters produced by it, determined by his conception of where fiction can end and begin. From a casual sentence or two when we are getting on towards the end of The Unbearable Lightness of Being we discover that the hero and heroine (conventional terms which carry an unusual emphasis in this novel) were (or are to be) killed in a driving accident shortly after the novel ends.

The confusion of tenses—were they killed, or are they to be killed?—shows the novelist drawing attention to...

(read more from the Critical Essay #5 section)

This section contains 3,682 words
(approx. 10 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Unbearable Lightness of Being Study Guide
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The Unbearable Lightness of Being from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.