Letter to Milan Kundera

Dear Mr. Kundera,

I have had an affinity for finding tight metaphors since I was little. That might seem like a bizarre way to describe a literary device, but hear me out.

A tight metaphor sneaks into a situation, providing some wry coincidence that aligns something conceptually. It returns again and again, wiggling back into the situation through cracks of logic. Eventually, it has woven its way into a story so thickly that it becomes a part of its structure. It is specific, articulate, and deliberate.

This was something I could only enjoy through conversations with my father or books that were far above my reading ability. I eventually began to see it in the literature I read in school and for pleasure, but not enough for my greedy brain. Only a few books to this day have satisfied this itch, and even most of these don’t affect me the way that your writing does. The first time I read «The Unbearable Lightness of Being», I felt like my head had exploded. The extent of thoughtfulness and care taken to the discussion of human tendency totally mesmerized me. You used words to describe qualities of humanity that I could barely perceive, let along articulate.  You fed me these sharply tangy metaphors on a silver platter, showing me how to articulate things that I could form only into thoughts. You wove them together into a story that enchanted me with its complexity.

Thank you for satiating my brain, and showing my pencil what is possible.


Lydia Russell

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