Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Unbearable Likeness of Being - #15

Now I am over my panicked state of last night. Who knew reading for time was so stressful! But fun as well. Ooo we may have created a monster.

So this book was another one for the Olympic themed challenge. And I really enjoyed it. To begin with it seemed like a brag fest about philosophers the author had read. Then a list of sexual conquests. But as the story went on it be much more engrossing than I expected. And not because I was interested in the characters as such, but I was interested in the place and the society.

Part of me does wonder as well if the parts of the book I didn't enjoy was possibly my own lack of understanding of what was being discussed.

Again this book, like Between Shades of Gray, highlighted aspects of the ex-communist states that I had never thought about before. The idea of students having to got to work camps on their university holidays to work in steelworks or some such place. The thought of constantly playing happy music throughout the entire work camp during waking hours, and there not being a place you could go to escape it. To present a facade on how wonderful and perfect the system was... it's brainwashing at it's best! And I sympathised with Sabina who told this story, like I never thought I could with someone who was telling you they hated music. How could you hate music I always thought. How naive I was.

The complacency of the West was highlighted to me in the stories of Switzerland. Especially as I had been musing on them below earlier in the day. The story of Tereza taking her photos to a newspaper in Switzerland of the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia and them not being interested in them anymore as it was old news. Her exclamations that it was still occurring falling on deaf ears as the editors looked at photos of a nudist beach. Her being called a prude as she wasn't interested in the pictures as she has a sense of perspective. And then it being suggested that maybe she should be a fashion photographer... urge... to ... strangle... rising...

Otherwise, besides the usual "I DON'T SPEAK GERMAN DAMMIT!" issues (which to be fair finally did get translated into English around page 220. Would have been useful 200 pages earlier), and the fact that this damn book spoilt the end of Anna Karenina for me (ARGH), it was a really absorbing, incredibly well written read. 4 surprising stars.

Now back to Anna.

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