LAST year marked both the 80th birthday of the Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann and the centenary of Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish filmmaker who directed her in 10 films.

The anniversaries were observed in the usual ways : a celebration of Ullmann at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; a Criterion Collection boxed set of Bergman's work; tributes from colleagues, critics and Scandiphiles.

Together and apart, Ullmann and Bergman [who died in 2007] represented a particular kind of late-20th century cultural charisma, an aesthetic ideal that remains seductive in its blend of high seriousness and sensuality.

It's hard to know whether to count the American publication of  ''Unquiet'',  Linn Ullmann's new novel, as a belated addition to the birthday festivities.

Ullmann, who lives in Oslo and is the author of five-previous novels, is Ulmann's only child and Bergman's ninth. While neither the narrator of  ''Unquiet''  nor her parents are named, the book feels closer to memoir than fiction, and not only because of the obvious real-world parallels.

''The mother'' is an up-and-coming actress  in her 20s when she gets involved  ''the father,'' an eminent auteur more than 20 years her senior.

They  are together for a while [in between the fourth and fifth marriages] and after their separation  'the girl''  [as their daughter sometimes calls herself when she lets go of the first person] spends summer with her half siblings at her father's compound in the island of Faro.

Memories of those sojourns, and of the girl's more unsettled life with her mother in Scandinavia and the United States, pass through the Scrim of her adult consciousness in an order that isn't linear but doesn't feel random either.

For readers anticipating a book length  gossip-column blind item  -or a score settling-peek into the intimate lives of famous people   -''Unquiet'' may be disappointing. The real-life celebrity of the almost - fictional  characters, including Linn  Ullmann herself, several of whose books have been international best sellers, is both a lure and a distraction.

The temptation to check  Ullmann's recollections against other sources   -Liv Ulklmann's memoirs,  ''Changing''  and  ''Choices'' ; the wealth of critical and biographical writing on Bergmann; the television interviews scattered across YouTube  -maybe especially strong given the elusiveness of the text.

But the impulse should be resisted, as should the slightly more elevated [or at least less prurient]  urge to use the book as an interpretive skeleton key to unlock the meaning of difficult films.

The enigmas of  ''Persona''  and the emotional shadings of ''Secenes From a Marriage'' are unlikely to be illuminated by any new revelations about  their maker and star. 

The World Students Society thanks author A.O.Scott for the book review. 


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