I met Kundera in Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul but decided I’d really meet him and started reading his The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
His novel was a very different garden. Although I can’t confirm that I like the novel as a whole but there are certain lines, actually lyrics through which Kundera captivates the reader’s soul.
Feel his poetry.
And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal is life itself?
Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.
Tomas came to this conclusion: Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).
Tomas removed the bowler hat from her head and placed it on the bedside table. Then they made love without saying a word.
He was depressed, but as he ate, his original desperation waned, lost its strength, and soon all that was left was melancholy.
Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
What was screaming in fact was the naive idealism of her love trying to banish all contradictions, banish the duality of body and soul, banish perhaps even time.
But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave.
Abroad, she discovered that the transformation of music into noise was a planetary process by which mankind was entering the historical phase of total ugliness.
That darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we each carry within us. (Yes, if you’re looking for infinity, just close your eyes!)
The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us.
Then what was the relationship between Tereza and her body? Had her body the right to call itself Tereza? And if not, then what did the name refer to? Merely something incorporeal, intangible? (These are questions that had been going through Tereza’s head since she was a child. Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limits of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.)
Even though the sewer pipelines reach far into our houses with their tentacles, they are carefully hidden from view, and we are happily ignorant of the invisible Venice of shit underlying our bathrooms, bedrooms, dance halls, and parliaments.
Loves are like empires: when the idea they are founded on crumbles, they, too, fade away.
The criminal regimes were not made by criminals but by enthusiasts convinced they had discovered the only road to paradise.
Is a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?
Going over them, he felt the joy of having acquired yet another piece of the world, of having taken his imaginary scalpel and snipped yet another strip off the infinite canvas of the universe.
Characters are not born like people, of woman; they are born of a situation, a sentence, a metaphor containing in a nutshell a basic human responsibility that the author thinks no one else has discovered or said something essential about. But isn’t it true that an author can write only about himself?
The characters in my novels are my own unrealized possibilities. That is why I am equally fond of them all and equally horrified by them.
But the world was too ugly, and no one decided to rise up out of the grave.
“Man is the cow parasite” is probably how non-man defines man in his zoology books.
Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearn to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.
Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.