Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 1, Chapter 13

By Milan Kundera

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Part 1, Chapter 13

  • Tomas is soon in touch with Sabina. She had a show for her paintings a week after she moved to Geneva that sold out completely. Because Tomas can't get away to see her, she comes to Zurich to see him.
  • Tomas goes to see her in her hotel room after work. She opens the door wearing lingerie and a black bowler hat. Without saying a word, he takes the hat off her head and the two of them make love.
  • Going home that night, Tomas realizes that Tereza and Sabina "represent the two poles of his life, separate and irreconcilable, yet equally appealing" (1.13.5).
  • Tereza continues to be haunted by nightmares. One night Tomas comes home for work to find her gone. She left a note saying that she went back to Prague, that she was silly for thinking she could make it living abroad. She realized she was weighing Tomas down and didn't want to any longer. She took Karenin with her.
  • Tomas realizes that at this point, the borders to Czechoslovakia are closed; Tereza's departure is definite because there's no way she can come back to Switzerland.

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