I'm halfway through now, and I realize (to my chagrin) that in the past 5 years, I must have actually become "smarter" or something. Or maybe just more mature. Either way, I realize that the first time I read this book, I didn't fully appreciate or understand the text. A lot of it went over my head, or I just didn't take the time to fully process. Maybe because back then I was still fully engrossed only in books with plot rather than the slow books that Kundera writes, where you spend time digesting its existential content. Either way, I've been so busy flagging passages this time around (with little sticky flags, because I don't like writing in my books), that it's taking me longer to get through this time around. But I really enjoy it.
I wanted to get down some of these passages, but there's so many!
But here we go, to start:
Tomas did not realize at the time that metaphors are dangerous. Metaphors are not to be trifled with. A single metaphor can give birth to love.
Tomas came to this conclusion: Making love with a woman and sleeping with a woman are two separate passions, not merely different but opposite. Love does not make itself felt in the desire for copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).
Anyone who has failed to benefit from the Devil's gift of compassion (co-feeling) will condemn Tereza coldly for her deed, because privacy is sacred and drawers containing intimate correspondence are not to be opened. But because compassion was Tomas's fate (or curse), he felt that he himself had knelt before the open desk drawer, unable to tear his eyes from Sabina's letter. He understood Tereza, and not only was he incapable of being angry with her, he loved her all the more.
If a mother was Sacrifice personified, then a daughter was Guilt, with no possibility of redress.
But is not an event in fact more significant and noteworthy the greater the number of fortuities necessary to bring it about?
Chance and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us. We read its message much as gypsies read the images made by coffee grounds at the bottom of a cup.
The first betrayal is irreparable. It calls forth a chain reaction of further betrayals, each of which takes us farther and father away from the point of our original betrayal.
"Why don't you ever use your strength on me?" she said.
"Because love means renouncing strength," said Franz softly.
Sabina realized two things: first, that Franz's words were noble and just; second, that they disqualified him from her love life.