Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera, 6


"Dr. Havel After Twenty Years"

Dr. Havel from “Symposium” is back, considerably older and married to a gorgeous, young actress. His Casanova charms have faded a bit, the women don’t look at him that longingly any longer and he tries to come to terms with that while he drinks the waters in some sleepy resort.

Dr. Havel and his mid-life crisis is quite interesting. He suffers quite a bit, but is happy to be validated once more by the presence of his young and beautiful wife. The actress’ short presence in town has made him interesting again and the women are only too eager to please him once more. That is him taken care of.

The more fascinating character is the newspaper editor. He only comes to talk to Dr. Havel in order to get an interview with his wife (another disappointment for the doctor), but when he is being told what an expert in the erotic field Dr. Havel is, he is only too ready to make him his master. His willingness to ditch his girlfriend whom he loves because of some derisive comment from Dr. Havel part who was asked to “inspect and rate” her is hard to digest. All the more so because we know that the zero rating has nothing to do with the girl herself but Dr. Havel’s own bad mood. That the editor later seduces an older woman, again on the recommendation of his tutor who only played a joke on him by doing so, doesn’t come to a surprise anymore. This love, indeed, was laughable – in an uneasy way.

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