Norton. Jan. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9780393609943. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393609950. F
OrangeReviewStarA daughter assembles the pieces of her father's long life, and in doing so gathers some of the pieces of her own life as well. In this case, her parents are the acclaimed actress Liv Ullman and the legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. The author meets with her father as he nears the end of his days in a treasured spot near the Baltic Sea, where she records their conversations, until it finally becomes apparent that his memory is failing. A few years after his passing, she creates a story, part memoir and part fiction, that features their private talks interspersed with her own charming, clear-eyed memories as a young girl fortunate to enjoy a way of life that was at once simple yet steeped in culture.
VERDICT To examine the soul of Ingmar Bergman, a man so private and so iconic, requires much deconstruction and reconstruction, not unlike the careful editing of a film. Ullman succeeds on every level, blending time, memory, and emotion into a fascinating and intimate portrait that easily evokes the universal sense of love and loss. Highly recommended.
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