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The Ultimate Intimacy
by Ivan Klima
ISBN 0802116256 / 9780802116253 / 0-8021-1625-6
Publisher Grove Pr
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It's easy to tease out the serious themes in Ivan Klima's novel of ideas--religious belief vs. earthly love; freedom vs. responsibility; skepticism vs. belief; and the burdens of the Communist past vs. those of the capitalist present. But The Ultimate Intimacy is far more than a metaphysical point/counterpoint. Klima's exploration of one crucial year in the life of a good minister, who discovers that truth and passion can be all too distant, is no simple construction. Born in 1944 and having grown up in Czechoslovakia in a time "when hate was publicly proclaimed as something necessary," and now living in an era in which "having a good memory tends to be a disadvantage," Daniel Vedra is determined to live according to the Biblical certainties he proclaims. Alas, at a particularly low point following his mother's death he is distracted by a mysterious (and beautiful) churchgoer, and the two are soon entangled. In lesser hands the situation might be incredible or, at best, credible but hackneyed. In Klima's complex narration, however, Daniel's crisis becomes a powerful drama of faith and, perhaps, salvation. [via]