Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera, 5


"Let the Old Dead Make Room for the Young Dead"

A man and an older woman had an affair a long time ago. Now she has buried her husband and meets the man again by chance. They reconnect, however, time has not stood still and the man has considerable problems getting reconciled with the fact that the woman is not as beautiful, or rather young and sexy, as she used to be.

If you are over 40 you might want to consider skipping this story. Unless you don’t mind being constantly referred to as an old hag and told that you are rather disgusting to look at. Of course, it is not Milan Kundera’s opinion (at least I hope it isn’t) but that of his main male character, some guy, not young anymore, but not quite middle aged yet. He seems to project his own (early) midlife crisis on the woman and, even though he doesn’t mind sleeping with her, still finds her rather repulsive to look at. I felt quite insulted by that superficial, self-satisfied wanker, pardon my French! Recommended, but prepare for some bad feelings…

1 Comment Write a comment

  1. Hi,

    I just finished reading the story and I don’t find it an insult to women over forty. In the story she says that she was forty last time they met (20 years before), and then the young man considered her the most beautiful woman of the world. She is now 60, and though she may still have a good body, she is ageing quickly and is no longer that attractive (just as a sex object).
    “…and she remembered what she had been like (she had been almost forty…)”

    Also it is important to note that her son had made her grow older by making her feel as an old woman. External influences can greatly influence how someone looks, especially when they feel bad, so it is also an important factor to consider.

    Thanks and I hope you don’t feel so insulted after this,
    Rodrigo Newell


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