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The best intentions : a novel
Bergman, Ingmar
Adult Fiction BERGMAN

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Summary: In this original, extraordinarily moving, and highly personal novel, world-renowned stage and film director Ingmar Bergman goes back to the time of his parents and grandparents, to the years shortly before, during, and just after World War I. Set in the decade beginning in 1908, The Best Intentions is, ultimately, a love story on many different levels: a man and woman in love; parents and children; and love as miracle, that love which is overriding and, so often, inexplicable. Bergman was inspired to write this loosely biographical novel when he began rummaging through the voluminous family picture albums. That, plus family letters and records, and his own memories and unique imagination, helped him recreate this lost world in evocative and graphic detail. Henrik is a poor divinity student. Anna is the much loved but slightly pampered daughter of bourgeois parents. They fall in love and, after a long and tortuous courtship, marry, despite the objections of Anna's parents - especially of Anna's mother, Karin. Karin uses everything in her power, including deceit, first to prevent the marriage, then to break it up. Yet, even her basest actions are never monstrous but filled with good intentions. In fact, all the characters act with the "best intentions", however wrongheaded their behavior. "That Bergman can extend sympathy to such behavior is a great and generous gesture, one that allows him to create characters of astonishing depth", wrote Caryn James in the New York Times. Incorporating some of the elements of stage and screen, including filmic dialogues and personal "asides", which he weaves artfully into the narrative flow, Bergman has written a novel of great beauty and uncompromisinghonesty, a work filled with joy and sadness, sacrifice and reconciliation - and above all, abiding love.

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