Full title  The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Author Milan Kundera

Type of Work Novel

Genre Love story; political novel; novel of ideas

Language Czech, translated into English by Michael Henry Heim; translation supervised/approved by author

Time and Place Written 1984, Paris

Date of First Publication 1984

Publisher English translation: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc

Narrator The author, Milan Kundera, or fictionalized version thereof

Climax A different climax can be identified in each of the character's stories; for Tomas, the arguable climax is his decision to return to Prague from the free West

Protagonist Tomas is main protagonist; other protagonists are Tereza, Sabina, and Franz

Setting (Time) Mid 1960s to early 1980s

Setting (Place) Prague; small town in Bohemia; Czech countryside; Switzerland; America

Point of View First person narration from author Kundera's point of view; follows alternately one then another character

Falling Action Sabina wills body to be cremated after death, wonders if any betrayals are left in her life

Tense past tense

Foreshadowing constant, as author/narrator tells story non-chronologically and instead by ideas and associations

Tone cynical; amused; compassionate; contemplative

Symbols book; suitcase; bowler hat; stocking; signed document; tombstone

Themes lightness versus weight; politics; sexuality; death; human love

Motifs the body; kitsch; artwork; written texts

Other Partly autobiographical text; Kundera was a leftist in youth, a silenced intellectual in Prague after 1968, and a permanent émigré settled in Paris thereafter