Tomas, a womanizer, falls in love with Tereza but is unable to abandon his erotic friendships, especially with Sabina. In the midst of the Czech Revolution, Tomas and Tereza long for idyllic country life and struggle with the ephemerality of their own lives in the face of their paranoia and the oppressive government.
This report prepared by Jessica Marler
This rich and beautiful book, using an ostensible plot about two couples -- Tomas and Tereza, and Sabina and Franz -- in Czechoslovakia during the 1960s, addresses issues of love, sex, friendship, art, kitsch, political responsibilities, and life and death. Tomas is a physician whose fear of women drives him through an endless series of affairs, even after he falls in love with and marries Tereza. Sabina, a free spirit who often sleeps with Tomas, has a "heavier" male partner in Franz as well. Their emotions and activities play out against the Communist dictatorship and Prague Spring, into which Tomas is reluctantly drawn. The narrator sometimes addresses the reader directly about his characters, issues of morality (even as they apply to animals), and other philosophical issues, but not in any obtrusive manner. Much richer and more lovely than the decent movie based upon it.
This report prepared by David Loftus