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The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being


by Milan Kundera

Sabina Timeline and Summary

  • We learn that Sabina is one of Tomas's mistresses. She has no problem with his other women.
  • One day, Sabina catches Tomas looking at his watch while they're having sex. She punishes him by hiding his sock so that he has to go home without it.
  • After Tomas immigrates to Zurich, Sabina goes to see him there. She is greets him in her hotel room naked and wearing a bowler hat.
  • Sabina has Tereza over to her studio to show her art. The two women end up taking nude photos of each other.
  • Now living in Geneva, Sabina has Franz as a lover. She wears the bowler hat for him one day, though Franz doesn't get it the way Tomas did.
  • She eventually agrees to go Palermo with Franz.
  • Through the dictionary of misunderstood words, we learn about all the ways in which Franz and Sabina differ.
  • We also learn of Sabina's feelings on kitsch, her country, the past, painting, and betrayals.
  • One night, Sabina goes to a party that Marie-Claude is throwing. Marie-Claude calls Sabina's necklace ugly just to show that she is above her socio-economically.
  • Sabina is upset to find that Franz told his wife about their affair. She leaves him.
  • The narrator explores Sabina's obsession with betrayal.
  • Sabina ends up going to Paris.
  • Years later, she learns that Tomas and Tereza have died. She wanders through a cemetery and philosophizes about different kinds of graves.
  • Sabina ends up in America. One day, a friend of hers, an American Senator, takes her to the park with his kids. He smiles as he watches them playing. She knows that this is the smile of kitsch.
  • The narrator explores the idea of kitsch and in particular its meaning to Sabina.
  • We find out that Tomas's son, now named Simon, sent letters to Sabina all throughout her life, though many of them she did not read.
  • Sabina knows that Tomas and Tereza died under the sign of weight, and she wants her death to be under the sign of lightness. She writes in her will that she wants to be cremated and scattered to the wind.