Fourth on my list is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.
The truth is I watched the movie before I read the book. (Cue embarrassed smile. Daniel Day-Lewis and I are, as per Mandela in 10 Things I Hate About You, involved.) However, it’s probably the sequence that worked out best for me because I was too young to understand. Visual and auditory interpretations were necessary. Another truth: the book’s still too multi-faceted for me to take in even now, more than two decades and my fair share of heartaches later. In fact, a work of literature is never completely devoured. We keep discovering layers the more we go over it. Or perhaps we uncover layers of ourselves.
And what layers you uncover in this book. The first page alone is a treasure trove of thoughts to ponder on.
When an author is goes the philosophical way, it’s possible to get carried away and (1) seem pretentious, or (2) forget the plot altogether. Mr. Kundera does not fall under any of these traps. His work is a smooth combination of thinking and doing. We may not totally understand what he’s saying but we’ll keep on reading him.