cover image Sunday's Children

Sunday's Children

Ingmar Bergman. Arcade Publishing, $16.95 (153pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-244-7

The renowned film director's second autobiographical novel (after Best Intentions ) is a moving, if misguided, bit of whimsy that continues the story of his parents' marriage. The Bergman household in rural Sweden is comprised of the reproving and often absent pastor Erik; his beautiful, distant wife Karin; their preteen terror Dag; eight-year-old Ingmar, affectionately known as ``Pu''; four-year-old Lillian; and various maids. The book chronicles an especially trying time for them all as Karin threatens to leave Erik and take the children with her. Assorted uncles and aunts drift through the text, but the focus remains Pu's troubled relationship with his tyrannical father--both of them, by virtue of having been born on Sunday, are declared clairvoyant by the kitchen staff. Though much of the story is enjoyable, the meaty resolutions Bergman tries to hang on the skeletal plot seem inappropriate. His slavish fascination with the details of his early childhood tend to slow down the narrative, and one can't help but wonder what the author might do if he turned his precise writing and sharp eye to some subject other than himself. A movie version of Sunday's Children is slated for release in late April. (Mar.)