Graag had ik mezelf altijd voorgehouden dat Lucie voor mij iets abstracts betekende...
I had always like to tell myself that Lucie was something abstract...
I was intrigued and continued reading the whole paragraph as I had an epiphany while reading it. In that poignant paragraph was as if the author, Milan Kundera, was talking about my relationship with the person who gave me the book. Isn’t it ironic? Although our situation was different but I feel the essence was exactly the same as in that single paragraph!
...een legende, een mythe, maar nu besefte ik dat in deze poëtische termen een volstrekt onpoëtische waarheid school: dat ik haar niet kende; dat ik haar niet kende zoals ze werkelijk was, zoals ze in wezen was.
... a legend, a myth; yet, now I knew behind the poetry of there words hid an entirely unpoetic truth: that i didnt know her, that i didnt know her as she really was, as she was in and to herself.
Ik had (in mijn jeugdige egocentrisme) bij haar alleen die facetten opgemerkt die rechtstreeks met mij te maken hadden...; ze vertegenwoordigde voor mij niet meer dan een functie van mijn eigen levenssituatie, waarmee ze buiten die concrete levenssituatie viel; alles waarin ze alleen zichzelf was, ontglipte me.
I had been able to perceive (in my youthful egocentricity) only those aspects of her being that were turned directly to me...; she had never been anything to me but a function of my own situation; everything that went beyond that concrete situation; everything that she was in herself had escaped me.
At first I thought: if only I read it earlier, it would probably spare me a lot of headaches. After all I have it for months but I didn't feel like reading it, it seems 'heavy' at the first glance, then again it was in Dutch. I've never really like reading Dutch books, especially when the original language wasn't Dutch. I'd prefer English translation any time, it's easier to digest and I read it quicker than reading Dutch.
Come to think of it, maybe I would not have recognized what it means had I read it earlier. Well I guess there is no such thing as coincidence. I need to read it now, not then. It would have been only a bunch of words back then, without any connection to myself.
After reading that 5th paragraph of the 7th part of 'de Grap' (the Joke), I started reading the book. Turns out, from what I've read so far, it was as interesting as the giver told me.