The Director

Alexander Ahndoril

Published: 1 November 2008
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 96 pages
ISBN: 9781846270482


The Director is Ingmar Bergman; the time is 1961; and the setting is the shooting of Winter Light, a film about how his life would have been had he followed his father's wishes and become a priest. As actors and crew gather to film this alternative destiny, Bergman tries to draw his father into the process, but quickly finds himself plunged back into the emotions of his childhood - both terrorized by his brutal and dominating father, and desperately longing for his approval - and reality gradually begins to crack and crumble, tipping him into a world of false memories and dangerous fantasies. Compelling and breathtakingly original, The Director mixes biographical fact with a wild kaleidoscopic imagination to reveal the boy and the man behind the great film-maker.

About the author

Image of Alexander Ahndoril

Alexander Ahndoril is one of Sweden's most celebrated, dynamic and original younger writers, the author of eight novels and ten plays, as well as short stories, essays and screenplays. This is his UK debut. More about the author


‘A Scandinavian version of Fellini's Eight and a Half, the novel melts the imagined and remembered. It also catches the physical atmosphere of Sweden, both warming and chill - like Bergman's relationships.’ Martin Hoyle



‘An intriguing experiment’ Alfred Hickling

‘An utterly strange, original and unsettling novel, published while its subject was still living, The Director arrests our attention like an autopsy performed on a living man’ Joyce Carol Oates

‘Fascinating ... an honest, empathetic and respectful account of creativity, flowing from a unique mind to affect other people's lives, made with Bergmanesque spareness and attention to detail, a vivid tribute to the Shakespeare of our age.’ Paul Binding

‘Lovely, poetic prose

‘The language is precise, every word carefully weighed. Seventeen years in the honing, the novel created a furore on publication in Sweden, where Bergman vented his displeasure on national television, thereby doubtless generating some extra sales. It is a sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, always surprising novel that constantly blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.’

‘The real subject of The Director is how the boundaries between life and fiction are dissolved - by the creator himself, who recklessly subordinates everything and everyone to his creation, but also by the artful language in its own right. When this language takes the lead, what we call life and what we call fiction can no longer be separate. Many have had the same idea, Strindberg for example, in A Dream-Play, but very few have realised it with such merriness and so delightfully..., chiselled with such pleasure as Ahndoril. Is The Director a satire or an homage, a parricide in the name of art or a loveletter? It is, of course, both. And that is what makes it so rich.’

‘What a great read! The writer seduced me into his world in much the same mesmerising way that Bergman might do in one of his films. A wonderful novel’ Jeremy Irons

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