The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Genre

Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Philosophical Literature, Modernism, Romance

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a genre-defying text if we ever saw one. On the one hand, it's like a philosophical treatise with extended examples to support its ideas. Much of the text breaks from the plot entirely while the narrator riffs on a variety of complex and interwoven philosophical concepts.

On the other hand, it is a love story for the ages – the relationship between Tomas and Tereza is epic stuff and at the emotional core of the novel. The importance of the historical setting is undeniable – see "In a Nutshell" for some background and "Setting" for some analysis – which qualifies the novel as historical fiction. You could argue that The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a modernist novel, because of its narrative trickery (see "Narrator Point of View"), non-linear presentation, and shifting levels of reality.

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