VIVEKA . . . VIVECA by Viveca Lindfors

VIVEKA . . . VIVECA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Flashing backwards and forwards, stewing in verbose self-exploration, actress Lindfors' feverish memoir will appeal less to showbiz-celebrity readers than to devotees of I-Am-A-Woman-in-Conflict confessionals (though even the most sympathetic of feminist readers may find Lindfors' angst a bit much). She begins in the 1970s--when fourth husband George Tabori leaves her for a younger woman: ""I was stuck. Stuck the ancient way. The female way. . . . I wished that I could have killed them both in an orgy so wild, so insane, that nothing would be left except me, me, me!"" And then, while musing on her mother's death and her new lover H.T., she goes back to young years in 1930s Sweden: a traumatic move from city to suburbs (""I cried and cried and cried""); dancing school; drama school (""The theater. . . takes me into labyrinths of unending discoveries about life""); early stage success; lovers, including a married star; first marriage; European film stardom circa 1942 (""That I ought not to have worked for the fascists did not occur to me""); pregnancy (""I dance down the hillside, singing to the trees, to the sky""); second marriage. And then Hollywood beckoned--and Lindfors, her prose settling down for a while, does best in her arrival there as a budding, soon-disappointing starlet. In no time, however, she's in overwrought love with Don Siegel, director of her first picture (""at night, my body against Don's, his penis inside of me, life seemed real again""); so it's divorce/remarriage time again, with a pregnancy that conflicts with her chance at a Broadway play (""God, help, help, help! But God was a man, too""). Then: enter actor-writer Tabori, a serious, political Hungarian Jew--which means affair/divorce/remarriage (Don ""didn't fight for me,"" pouts Viveca). And about this time Viveca also discovers the Actor's Studio, getting serious about her art (Anastasia on Broadway, collaborations with George, Brecht on Brecht with egotistic Lotte Lenya) . . . not to mention psychoanalysis: ""Analysis is like the movement of birth, the movement of life. Exhilaration, pain, wonder,"" etc. But, despite all, there's always that creative-woman vs. loving-woman conflict: after George walks out, Viveca tours in her solo I Am a Woman show. And much of the potentially involving story here is befogged in Lindfors' pretentious, repetitious brooding on her identity, her sensuality, sibling jealousy and mother/daughter jealousy, or unfairness to aging actresses: ""Burton was in his fifties when he did his Hamlet and nobody questioned it."" (He was 39.) Largely whiny and unlikable, then, but not without some intensity for kindred spirits--and a few bright moments (an R. Reagan anecdote) in the Hollywood section.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Everest