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The Ultimate Intimacy Kindle Edition

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Length: 399 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews Review

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.

From Library Journal

Czech pastor Daniel Vedra preaches God's limitless love and demonstrates it through ministering to his congregation, community, and family. His staid and predictable life changes when a female visitor who reminds the pastor of his first wife begins attending, though she has little faith in God. She is looking for shelter from her possessive husband and a surrogate lover in Daniel. Though it is against everything he teaches, the couple begins a secret affair; ironically, as it continues, the woman draws closer spiritually while Daniel drifts away, contemplating the validity of Christ's teachings on love and fidelity. This is certainly not the first time the subject of forbidden love in this context has been addressed, but Klima goes deeper than most into the minds of the conspirators as they deceive their families and wrestle with their consciences. The vivid portraits of the families' lives through letters, diary entries, and everyday scenarios rival Updike's best prose, showing that the most important mechanics of love involve the mind much more than the body. Many people will recognize a bit of themselves in this sad but stunning and insightful book. Highly recommended.?Marc A. Kloszewski, Indiana Free Lib, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2746 KB
  • Print Length: 399 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 080213601X
  • Publisher: Grove Press (December 1, 2007)
  • Publication Date: December 1, 2007
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MJBIF0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GrayFox on December 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Klima deals in big ideas--the nature of love, morality, despair, religious belief--and he does so from a variety of perspectives, turning ideas this way and that, holding them up to different sorts of light so that their complexity can be fully appreciated. Third person narratives are blended with diary entries and letters written by different characters who are all distinct and move about in skillfully detailed settings. The story may be the most artful element of the novel; it is compelling, suspenseful, never predictable or hackneyed. I had a few minor quibbles about passages that seemed to go on too long, but as a whole the novel creates a genuine emotional and intellectual experience so powerful that it lives on long after the final page is reached.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By LarsLancejr on May 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Where so many texts can only provide a cursory glace at an issue, four major thematic concerns are masterfully probelmatized in this novel. These are love, religion, politics and the family. The focus falls primarily upon a pastor and the ensuing amorous relationship he has with a woman who attends his service one day. What follows is an at time heart-wrneching history of a woman whose abusive huband leads her to feel lonely and incomplete and the relationship she has with the pastor. He (pastor)is married to his second wife, whose only shortcoming is that she will never equal his first wife.
Equal time is spent exploring the Pastor's ministry to a drug user/dealer and his search for his father who was abducted by the secret police years earlier. However, we are always anxiously waiting to to see what is going to happen between the Pastor and his mistress.
Of particular interest is one literary convetion employed by the author. That is, readers are invited to read the Pastor's diary as well the written correspondance between him and his lover as well as those between him and friends and family. These draw the reader into the inner thoughs of the protagonists, asisting the narrative voice in its duties.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Emilia Palaveeva on November 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
THis was the first book by Ivan Klima that I read and based on the back cover description I picked it with a little doubt--will it be one of those haughty books that try to explain the meaning of life, love and faith in a language that nobody can understand or care to. But it was not.
The novel is about a married pastor who falls in love with a married woman. Tormented by the deception he lives in, contrary to everything he has preached and believed in, he begins to question everything around him--his relationship with his family, his wife, his dead parents.
Through the eyes and words of the pastor, his wife and kids, his lover and her husband and other characters in the book, the reader is forced to think about some major issues: What is love? Are we always looking for an excuse to justify our not always perfect judgements? How do you adjust in a time when moral values in a society change (the novel takes place in the early nineties, when the Czech republic is on its painful way to recovery from communism and rediscovering itself)?
Yet, Klima manages to discuss all these issues and more in a very palpable way, without turning his book into a philosophical treaty. The characters of Dan (the pastor), Hana (his wife), Bara (the lover) and Samuel (the lover's domineering husband) are very well developed and portrayed with all their insecurities, doubts, emotions and loyalties.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stacey M Jones on November 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
THE ULTIMATE INTIMACY by Ivan Klíma is about a protestant minister in Prague, his family and his affair with a new parishioner. This book takes on the themes of personal closeness, integrity and honor, the human need for love and understanding and the issues and tests of faith that happen for all believers, even ministers. It's about faith in each other as well, and how trust and betrayal may wilt that belief.

Dan is the minister of a church in Prague; he has come through the years of Communism, when he was banished to the rural areas with his family, which comprises his second wife Hana and their son and daughter, Marek and Magda, as well as Dan's daughter Eva with his late wife, Jitka. Dan also has peripheral members of his family, including Petr, a young man who has been in jail for drugs, etc., whom Dan is trying to help lead an honorable life. Hana is a poorly paid, overworked nurse. Their children are in their teens and sorting through their own beliefs about God, morality and social behavior.

On the day Dan learns his mother has died, a new woman begins to attend his church, Barbara, or Bara. She is a sometime actress turned architect and interior designer who is married to an older, very successful Prague architect. She has two children, one son from each of her marriages, and she is wealthy in her marriage to Samuel; however, she is not happy, as she feels he has come to see her as property -- Samuel cannot bear to be alone, and she feels constrained by him and unloved. She comes to the minister of the church seeking something, and their relationship grows as she asks him about faith, love and belief. Once their affair begins, he is struck by her regular plea, "Do not forsake me.
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