"In this country people don't respect the morning. An alarm clock violently wakes them up, shatters their sleep like the blow of an ax, and they immediately surrender themselves to deadly haste. Can you tell me what kind of day can follow a beginning of such violence? What happens to people whose alarm clock daily gives them a small electric shock? Each day they become more used to violence and less used to pleasure. Believe me, it's the mornings that determine a man's character."
"Even painful memories are ties that bind"
"[...] she was hurt by it, and, as you know, love often takes on the features of hate. I went to prison with the strange sensation of having been led there by love. It is not wonderful to find oneself in the hands of the Gestapo and to realize that this, in fact, is the privilege of a man who is loved too much?"
Jakub replied: "Something that always utterly disgust me about mankind is seeing how its cruelty, its baseness, and its stupidity manage to wear the lyrical mask. She sends you to death, and she experiences it as a romantic feat of wounded love. And you mount the scaffold because of an ordinary narrow-minded woman, feeling that you are playing a role in a tragedy Shakespeare wrote for you."
Old men are recognizable by their habit of bragging about past sufferings and making a museum of them (ah, these sad museums have so few visitors!).
I started reading this book by Kundera with the certainty that it would keep constantly my eyes on it until I finished reading. Actually, I was right to think so.
But I cannot say that I am satisfied.
By page 82 I disliked all the male characters who had appeared and I thought all female characters shallow and a bit dumb. Moreover, I found some thoughts which were not credible at all, and seemed to be driven only by the need of fill the longing to what would happen.
I once started to write a short novel, it was supposed to be a love story. But, as long as I hadn't been in love for a long time, I had to force myself into romance. At a certain point I wrote such a pathetic sentence, which sounded so fake, that I stopped with a shut-up-this-shit reaction. I don't want to compare myself to Kundera, of course, since I have no ambition to become a writer, nor I want to deny his talent, but I found at least a couple of shut-up-this-shit moments in this novel (and they're not the quotations I took).
The characters are great though I didn't like Ruzena very much. Touching on topics like infidelity, betrayal and politics, Kundera once again shows he's a literary genius. The twist in the plot was also really surprising and interesting.