Powerful and seductive chronicle of the life of a sensitive and creative person who expresses his narcissism through writing poetry. Jaromil never escapes the cocoon of his mothers love. His desperate attempts to find recognition and love beyond his mother lead him to ape the sickening social and political trends of his time.
Kundera writes with wonderful imagery and deep understanding of how youth is inherently and often fatally vulnerable to political extremism: "In immature man the longing persist for the safety and unity of the universe which he occupied alone inside his mother's body. Anxiety (or anger) persists as well - toward the adult world of relativity in which he is lost like a drop in an alien sea. That's why young people are such passionate monists, emissaries of the absolute..." (p220)
This powerful polemic (sometimes sounding akin to a preachy movie voice over) is sprinkled throughout the book, and used explicitly to return the reader to the birds eye view of the dispassionate observer.