I was speaking to a friend and it made me remember this book, written by Milan Kundera. Its an absolutely fantastic read.. I couldn't find my old copy, so I went out and bought a new one.
Re-reading is a beautiful thing. Like watching a delicate movie over again, you tend to notice things that you didn't before.
The book tells a story of two lovers, Tomas and Tereza, as well as that of Sabina and Franz. Tomas, who has had a failed marriage, falls in love with Tereza. Their lives were brought together by little happenings of fate (you know, those little unexplainable things), but also raises the question as to how much we play a part in determining our future. Tomas, a womanizer by disease, can't stop his old lifestyle, and Tereza s driven quite mad by it. But at the end we realise that in spite of his ways, Tomas was bent and broken by the will of Tereza's submissive force.
One of Tomas' mistresses, Sabina, also had a relationship with Franz, a married scholar. Tomas and Franz are very different, and the latter is deeply in love with Sabina, whereas the former looks at her more as a friend. Franz's wife is a terror, and he only realises it much later on - which plays on the theme of how sometimes we overlook things when its easier to do so. He eventually divorces his wife for Sabina, but Sabina, sensing that this relationship is not right for her (deep down inside she loves Tomas), flees the country. And Franz goes a little mad, attributing everything in life (even his new girlfriend!) as a sign of faithfulness to Sabina. But eventually he snaps out of it, but dies in the end tragically.
What's great about this book is that its full of amazing 'one-liners' that you won't be able to find elsewhere. Some of my favourites:
"The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become."
"Any schoolboy can do experiements in the physics laboratory to test various scientific hypotheses. But man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion or not."
"But when the strong were too weak to leave the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave."
"Love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into out poetic memory."
"Characters are not born, like people, of woman; they are born of a situation, a sentence, a metaphor containing in a nutshell a basic human possibility that the author thinks no one else has discovered or said something essential about."
And my utmost favourite:
" Perhaps all the questions we ask of love, to measure, test, probe and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearn to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand free and asking for nothing in return but his company."
Hmm .. I wonder if reading a really dark romantic novel has anything to do with my mood lately. *lol*