History Literature / TheUnbearableLightnessOfBeing

10th May '17 7:31:12 AM JamesAustin
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[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_unbearable_lightness_of_being.jpg]]

''The Unbearable Lightness of Being'' (Czech: ''Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí'') is a 1984 novel by Creator/MilanKundera. It takes place mainly in Prague in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_Spring Prague Spring]] and the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Pact_invasion_of_Czechoslovakia Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia]] as backdrop.

Tomas, a surgeon, and Tereza, a photographer, are a marriage of Czech intellectuals that live a bohemian lifestyle. Tomas is a womanizer who considers sex and love to be distinct entities: he has sex with many women but loves only Tereza, and he sees no contradiction between these two positions. Things get even more complicated when Tomas meets Sabina, a woman craving for that intellectual bohemian lifestyle, and they cohabit with Tereza's knowledge.

The novel was [[TheFilmOfTheBook adapted into a film]] in 1988, starring Creator/DanielDayLewis as Tomas, Creator/JulietteBinoche as Tereza, and Creator/LenaOlin as Sabina.
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!!The novel and its film adaptation contain examples of:
* AdaptedOut: In the novel, Tomas has a son, Simon, from an earlier relationship; he becomes important when he is the one who informs Sabina through a letter of [[spoiler:Tomas and Tereza's death]]. In the film, he is nowhere to be seen, and Sabina instead receives the letter from an old patient of Tomas.
* {{Futureshadowing}}: The penultimate scene of the film adaptation has Sabina on a beach in California reading a letter that tells her of [[spoiler:Tomas and Tereza's death in a traffic accident]]. The final scene has [[spoiler:Tomas and Tereza]] driving off back in Czechoslovakia, where [[{{Irony}} in the last line he tells her he's thinking about how happy he is]].
* JustAStupidAccent: Creator/DanielDayLewis in the film adaptaion is an Irishman portraying a Czech lothario by putting on an accent that is a mixture of TV-presenter British and cold-war-spy-movie Russian. The effect is less than suave, more like distractingly ridiculous.
* PosthumousCharacter: Midway through the novel, we learn that [[spoiler:Tomas and Tereza have died in a road accident]]. Yet, due to the novel's non-linear narrative, we continue to follow their storyline up to the end of the novel. In the film, since the plot is arranged more linearly, it had to save that [[TheReveal reveal]] for the penultimate scene.
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