Study Guide

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Part 5, Chapter 17

By Milan Kundera

Part 5, Chapter 17

  • Two years is about as long as anyone can be on holiday, and Tomas is now in his third year of window-washing.
  • He's also physically exhausted from having so much sex with so many different women, though his curiosity is still insatiable.
  • One day, he's getting off early from work, and hasn't had sex with anyone.\
  • He panics and tries to call a young woman about ten times, someone he's had trysts with many times in the past.
  • Then, while he's walking down the street, he runs into a woman who greets him.
  • He does not recognize her and tries to figure out who she is as quickly as he can so he can get her to go have sex with him.
  • Finally he realizes – she is the young woman he has been trying to call all day.
  • This proves to him that he is as tired mentally as he is physically, and that his two-year-long holiday has come to an end.