An earlyish novel by Milan Kundera, this story takes place in a spa town over the course of several days. We meet Rusenka, a nurse at the spa who has recently realized she is pregnant, and Klima, a trumpeter who has gotten Rusenka pregnant, and spends the bulk of the novel trying to get out of getting her pregnant.
This novel, like a lot of Milan Kundera novels, also involves a host of ancillary characters whose own problems interweave what I would consider to be the main narrative of Rusenka and Klima.
The book is relatively short, and like most of Kundera’s novel, the prose style is stark and simple on its surfaces, but masking the complexities of the ideas and conversations within. One of the main central images, or ideas that is being explored is the concept of a pregnancy that no one wants. We have a woman who meets a man and they have sex and there’s a pregnancy. She’s only known him a few days, he’s only in town a short while, and also he’s married, and he convinces himself that the pregnancy and his attempted disavowal of it proves his love for his wife. And we have a society that neither wants to care for this child — it being repressive and anti-humanistic in practice — and also doesn’t want to allow the woman to get an abortion, that being a freeing and autonomous consideration. So there’s a kind of impasse. There’s also the central image of a self-proclaimed misogynist being unable to control himself around women being presented as a paradox.