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Idei interesante din „Life is Elsewhere” de Milan Kundera

august 1, 2013

love2Mai demult mie îmi plăcea să îndoi colțurile foilor la cartea care îmi place, și unde îl îndoiam acolo pe pagina dată precis era un citat sau vreo idee faină.

Acum fac diferit pe post de semn de carte folosesc o foiță unde când ajung la o idee interesantă notez pagina.

Și așa vreau să împărtășesc cu voi ce am găsit în Viața e în altă parte de Kundera. Am citit-o în engleză, deci citatele vor fi în engleză. Mie cartea tare mi-a plăcut, aș vrea s-o citesc orice tânăr din orice mișcare politică de tineret.

Life is elsewhere 


„Then he turned the squatting Maman toward himself and kissed her. He kissed her before she had any inkling of what is happening. This was actually in keeping with everything that had happend between them; events struck Maman out of the blue, they always seemed to run ahead of her expectations; the kiss was here, before she could think about it, and subsequent reflection could not change what had happend but only establish the fact that some thing wrong had taken place; but Maman could not be sure even about that, and so she postponed solving this problem until some future time and concentrated on the present moment.”


„It occurred to her that the artists love might be based on a complete misunderstanding and she would ask him why he really loved her. He would answer that he loved her the way a boxer loves a butterfly, the way a singer loves silence, the way an outlawloves a village maiden. He would say that he loved her as a butcher loves the timid eyes of a calf or as lighting loves the quietly idyllic roof. He told her he adored her because she was an exciting woman rescued from a dull world.

She listened to him with rapture, and went to see him whenever she managed to steal a moment. She felt like a tourist who gazes at the most beautiful landscapes but is too hurried and breathless to enjoy the scenery. She could not really enjoy her love affair, but she knew that it was something big and beautiful and that she must not let it go. ”


”She realized she was able to appreciate the beauty of those years only now, after they had vanished forever, and she reproached herself for her marital infidelity.”


”Not that he didnt have any contact with the girls, but his dates were rare events, as isolated as the stars in the sky. The word ”girls” was depressing, like th word ”loneliness” and the word ”failure.””


”You think that just because its already happend, the past is finished and unchangeable? Oh, no, the past is cloacked in multicolored taffeta and every time we look at it we see a different hue. Just a short while ago Maman was rerpoaching herself for having betrayed her husband with the artist – now shes in  despair that out of a sense of loyalty to her husband she had betrayed her only true love.”


”During the next few days she walked back and forth in front of his house until she saw him. She pretended that she, too, was surprised by the unexpected encounter. He asked her up to his studio. Her heart started pounding, for she knew that at the first casual touch she would melt in his arms.

He offered her some wine, showed her his new paintings and smiled at her in a comradely fashion – the way we smile at the past. He never touched her at all, and escorted her back to the station.”


”A kiss hung in the air. All he had to do was to lean closer. And yet he seemed to find the route to her lips long and difficult. He talked on and on, without a kiss.”


”Once (he had already known many kisses by then) he was strolling along the deserted paths of the Stromovka Park with a girl he met at dancing class. The paused in their conversation kept getting longer and longer until at the last the only sound they heard was that of their own footsteps, their common steps, which made them realise something they had not dared to face before: they were going on dates together. And if they were dating they must like one another. The sound of their footsteps confirmed this idea, their pace became slower and slower, until the girl suddenly put her head on Jaromils shoulder. ”


”He didnt long for the nudity of a girlish body; he longed for a girlish face illuminated by the nudity of her body. The body was beyond the bounds of his experience, and for that very reason it became the subject of countless poems.

Tenderness is the fear of physical consequences of love. It is an attempt to take love out of the realm of maturity (in which it is binding, treacherous, full of responsability and physicality), and to consider a woman as a child. ”


”And his legs began to realize that the girls stride was gradually slowing down. He had experienced such a moment before and knew that something unavoidable hung in the air. And as generally happens when something unavoidable is near, people speed up the inevitable, at least by a second or two (perhaps to prove that they have at least some free will). In any case, Jaromils hand, which had been limp all this time, came to life and squeezed the girls arm. At that instant the girl stopped abruptly, lifted her spectacled face toward him and dropped her briefcase to the ground.”



”She asked: ”Am I prettier dressed or with nothing on?”

There are several classic feminine questions which every man encounters during his lifetime and which young men should be instructed about as part of their education. But Jaromil, like the rest of us, had attended the wrong schools and had no idea what to answer. He tried to guess what answer the girl wanted to hear, but he was confused. A girl generally appears before people with her clothes on, and therefore she ought to be pleased that she is pretty that way. On the other hand, nakedness may be considered a state of physical truthfulness, and from that point of view it should make her happier to be told that she is more attractive in the nude.”


„It is precisely that mutual wretchedness which they thirst after with their parched tongues. They drink it greedily from each other. They stroke each others pitiful bodies and hear the engines of death quietly humming under one anothers skin. And they know they belong to one another, completely and forever, that this is their last and their greatest love because the last love is always the greatest.”


„All he knew about old age was that it was a time when a person had passed his maturity; when fate had ended; when there was no longer any need to fear that terrible mystery called the future; when every love that came along was certain and final.”


„The old scholar was watching the noisy young people around him and it suddenly occurred to him that he was the only one in the whole audience who had the privilege of freedom, for he was old. Only when a person reaches old age can he stop caring about opinions of his fellows, or of the public, or of the future. He is alone with approaching death and death has no ears and does not need to be pleased. In the face of death a man can do and say what pleases his own self.”


„He gazed at her, letting her last words reverberate in his mind. Yes, thats how it was. The whole time when he was tormented by loneliness, then he kept throwing himself desperately into meetings and parades, when he kept running on and on, his manhood had already been prepared for him. This modest little room with peeling walls had been quietly waiting for him, this room and this commonplace woman whose body had finally created a physical bond between him and the crowds.”


„Jaromil had always regarded the future as an awesome mystery. It comprised everything unknown, and for that reason it lured and terrified. It was the opposite of certainty, the opposite of home. The revolution, however, gave the future an entirely different meaning. It was no longer a mystery; a revolutionary knew the future by heart. It didnt terrify; on the contrary, it offered a haven of certainty in an uncertain present, so that the revolutionary reached out to it like a child reaching out to its mother.”


„He believed that a man had to undress his mistress – otherwise the whole operation was no different from ordinary, everyday dressing and undressing. He could not imagine an act of physical love that was not preceded by an eager, excited flurry of unbuttoning, unzipping, and unhooking.


„The lyrical poet does not have to prove anything. The only proof is the intensity of his own emotion.”


„”Then keep on writing”, said the editor. „I am certain that sooner or later we will start exporting poets. Other countries export their mechanics, engineers or wheat and coal, but our greatest export asset is poets. Czech poets could give a valuable boost to developing countries. In return for our poets, well get electronic instruments or bananas.”


„Still, every person regrets that he cannot live other lives. You, too, would like to live out all your unrealized potentials, all your possible lives. Our book is like you. It, too, yearns to be all the other novels it could have been.”


„I am glad you came here first. it was nice of you to come”, he said.

„You remember, ” he added after a pause, „you still remember what you said? That you never wanted to see me again in your life? ”

„Thats not true, ” said the girl.

„Yes, it is, ” he smiled.

„No, it isnt!”.

It was true, of course. When she came to see him that day, three years before, he had opened the liquor cabinet and was about to pour some brandy. The girl shook her head. „No, not for me. Ill never drink anything in your house again.”

He was surprised. The girl went on, „I am not coming to see you anymore. The only reason I am here today is to tell you that.”

And now here she was three years later, sitting in the same armchair and wearing the same clothes, telling him that she had never said anything of the kind!”

Milan Kundera


One Comment leave one →
  1. august 26, 2013 17:22

    Hartiuta se pierde , tot mai buna este indoitura !

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