Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera, 4

kundera

“Symposium”

This story is set at a hospital over the course of one night and the following day. The characters all belong to the hospital staff and work the night shift together (or rather spend the night shift drinking and discussing love and life). Subliminal messages are all over the place and more often than not are misunderstood.

This symposium in the old sense of the word very much reminded me of the Hospital at the end of the city, a Czech TV series from the 70s or so. I always sat mesmerized in front of the TV, watching all the entanglements of the hospital staff with the patients, the womanizing doctor, the senior physician (even though Dr. Sova would never have had a girlfriend!), the nurse with loose morals, it was all there, just a bit condensed.

I very much liked all the little goings on, the trainee who is a bit of an outsider among the old hands, who thinks the female doctor, who in turn has an affair with the married head physician, has a crush on him and gave him a sign to meet him outside. Only to find himself in the company of the head physician himself following the call of nature. Dr. Havel who is like Death – he takes everything (i.e. every woman), just not the nurse. The nurse who later tries to commit suicide – or not. It’s all very complicated with lots of undercurrents.  I loved it.

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