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The history of mankind is full of imbeciles, and it is of them that Milan Kundera speaks in part five of The Unbearable Lightness of Being: “Those who think that the communist regimes in Central Europe were exclusively the work of criminals are missing a fundamental truth: the criminal regimes were not created by criminals, but by enthusiasts, convinced that they had discovered the only road to Paradise. They bravely defended that road and executed many people for it. Later it became clear that Paradise did not exist, and that the enthusiasts were therefore murderers.

Milan Kundera set his most famous book exactly 50 years ago, in 1968, wrote it in 1982 and published it in 1984.

As a child, I heard a lot about this book, about its national-popular success, but I never had the desire to read it. After all, it accompanied the era of the reflux, the decade of Reagan and Thatcher, and was written by someone who had fled communist Czechoslovakia in 1975.

I still remember Venditti turning the title of the book into one of his most absurd songs, where he sang “Milan Kundera! Milan Kundera!” and scolding a friend for not reading Repubblica. Then at the end he recited these words: “My Africa… Nine and a half weeks… With the same woman… on the same night…”. Venditti, go figure. And I still remember seeing the film, but only for Juliette Binoche.

Now that I am finally listening to it in the audiobook read by Fabrizio Bentivoglio, I am attracted by the density of the philosophical reflections that pervade the novel: sometimes digressions in novels bother me, but perhaps these are not digressions, perhaps on the contrary they are the fragments of the story told that digress into a philosophy essay focused above all on the dichotomy light/heavy.

An analysis of the book can be found in L’indiependente, and another in Weschool.

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