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Tim Parks - Author

About the Author

Tim Parks studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He lives near Verona with his wife and three children. His novel Europa was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Featured books by Tim Parks

Italian Ways On and off the Rails from Milan to Palermo

Italian Ways On and off the Rails from Milan to Palermo

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2014

All Italy is here . (Sunday Times). From the bestselling author of Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education and A Season with Verona In Italian Ways, bestselling writer Tim Parks brings us a fresh portrait of Italy today through a wry account of his train journeys around the country. Whether describing his daily commute from Milan to Verona, his regular trips to Florence and Rome, or his occasional sojourns to Naples and Sicily, Parks uses his thirty years of amusing and maddening experiences on Italian trains to reveal what he calls the 'charmingly irritating dystopian paradise' of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians - conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants - Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive. Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how the railways reflect Italians' sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy.

ebook of the month
Teach Us to Sit Still A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing

Teach Us to Sit Still A Sceptic's Search for Health and Healing

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2011

'Just when the medical profession had given up on me and I on it, just when I seemed to be walled up in a life sentence of chronic pain, someone proposed a bizarre way out: sit still, they said, and breathe'. Teach Us to Sit Still is the visceral, thought-provoking and improbably entertaining story of Tim Parks' quest to overcome ill health. Bedevilled by a crippling condition which nobody could explain or relieve, he confronts hard truths about the relationship between the mind and the body, the hectic modern world and his life as a writer. Following a fruitless journey through the conventional medical system he finds solace in an improbable prescription of breathing exercises that eventually leads him to take up meditation. This was the very last place Parks expected or wanted to find answers; anything New Age simply wasn't his scene. Meantime, he is drawn to consider the effects of illness on the work of other writers, the role of religions in shaping our sense of self, and the influence of sport and art in our attitudes to health and well-being. Most of us will fall ill at some point; few will describe that journey with the same verve, insight and radiant intelligence as Tim Parks. Captivating and inspiring, Teach Us to Sit Still is an intensely personal - and brutally honest - story for our times.

ebook of the month

Other books by Tim Parks

Italian Life

Italian Life

Author: Tim Parks Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/07/2020

How does Italy really work? The bestselling writer on Italian culture sets out to answer the big question There is no world for whistle-blower in Italian, though you can absolutely chiudere un'occhio (turn a blind eye). In all areas of public life - community, education, employment - your connections are everything. From the bestselling author of Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education and Italian Ways, Italian Life is a particular reckoning with a beloved adopted country. It takes place in a university in the north. Valeria, a talented young woman from hot, dusty Basilicata, enrols together with thousands of others for a degree course that could take anything between three and ten years to complete, given the vagaries of the system. She has sacrificed a great deal to get here. However, as both Valeria and her rich supporting cast of students and professors will soon discover, there are dark and capricious forces at the institution's heart. Unfolding into a story of power and corruption, influence and exclusion, Tim Parks' compelling new book shows that an education is about understanding the workings of a society - in this case one where family, culture and innovation are shadowed by nepotism, bureaucracy and intrigue. Thought-provoking, surprising and always entertaining, Italian Life is a behind-the-scenes look at a paradoxical country: a gripping account of how Italy really happens.

Italian Life

Italian Life

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/07/2020

There is no world for whistle-blower in Italian, though you can absolutely chiudere un'occhio (turn a blind eye). In all areas of public life - community, education, employment - your connections are everything. From the bestselling author of Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education and Italian Ways, Italian Life is a particular reckoning with a beloved adopted country. It takes place in a university in the north. Valeria, a talented young woman from hot, dusty Basilicata, enrols together with thousands of others for a degree course that could take anything between three and ten years to complete, given the vagaries of the system. She has sacrificed a great deal to get here. However, as both Valeria and her rich supporting cast of students and professors will soon discover, there are dark and capricious forces at the institution's heart. Unfolding into a story of power and corruption, influence and exclusion, Tim Parks' compelling new book shows that an education is about understanding the workings of a society - in this case one where family, culture and innovation are shadowed by nepotism, bureaucracy and intrigue. Thought-provoking, surprising and always entertaining, Italian Life is a behind-the-scenes look at a paradoxical country: a gripping account of how Italy actually happens.

Out of My Head

Out of My Head

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/08/2019

Is my experience real? Or just a movie in my head? Am I no more than a super computer? You are your brain, neuroscientists tell us. Everything happens in there. Yet even the most sophisticated brain scan cannot tell us who we are. Nothing in our neurons remotely suggests the rich nature of our experience, the colours, sounds and smells that make up our lives. When Tim Parks came across a radical new theory of consciousness, he set on a quest that moves through one sparkling encounter after another to arrive at the deepest of questions: what stuff exactly is consciousness made of? And where is it? Inside or out? 'An exceptionally witty and compelling look at the nature of consciousness... Parks is a delight to read' Iain McGilchrist '[It has] wit, humanity and insight... Parks is an entertaining companion throughout' Mail on Sunday

Pen in Hand

Pen in Hand

Author: Tim Parks Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2019

How can other people like the books we don't like? What benefit can we get from rereading a work? Can we read better? If so, how? These and many other questions, ranging from the field of writing to that of reading and translation, are given a comprehensive answer in a series of stimulating and challenging literary essays that will be a perfect read for all book explorers and practitioners of the pen. After delighting us with his novels and many volumes of non-fiction, Tim Parks - who is not only an acclaimed author and a translator, but also a celebrated literary essayist - gives us a book to enjoy, savour and, most importantly, reread.

Out of My Head

Out of My Head

Author: Tim Parks Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/07/2018

Adventures in cutting-edge ideas about consciousness, from bestselling non-fiction writer Tim Parks. Hardly a day goes by without some discussion about whether computers can be conscious, whether our universe is some kind of simulation, whether mind is a unique quality of human beings or spread out across the universe like butter on bread. Most philosophers believe that our experience is locked inside our skulls, an unreliable representation of a quite different reality outside. Colour, smell and sound, they tell us, occur only in our heads. Yet when neuroscientists look inside our brains to see what's going on, they find only billions of neurons exchanging electrical impulses and releasing chemical substances. Out of My Head tells the gripping, highly personal, often surprisingly funny, story of Tim Parks' quest to discover more about this fascinating topic. It frames complex metaphysical considerations and technical laboratory experiments in terms we can all understand. Above all, it invites us to see space, time, colour and smell, sounds and sensations in an entirely new way. The world will feel more real after reading it. 'A brisk, chatty and light-hearted account of Parks's encounters with neurologists and philosophers looking for the location of consciousness' New Statesman

In Extremis

In Extremis

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/03/2018

Thomas needs to speak to his mother before she dies. But he's set to give a talk to a conference of physiotherapists in the Netherlands; if he leaves now will he get to her deathbed in time? Will he be able to say what he couldn't say before? He can't concentrate on what is happening now: his mind won't sit still. Should he try to solve his friend's marital crisis? Should he reconsider his separation from his own wife? And why does he need to pee again? In Extremis is Tim Parks's masterwork: a darkly hilarious and deadly serious novel about infidelity, mortality and the frailties of the human body.

Rapids

Rapids

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/06/2017

In the dramatic landscape of the Italian Alps a group of English canoeists arrive for an 'introduction to white water.' Camping, eating and paddling together, six adults and nine adolescents seem set to enjoy what their leader insists on calling a 'community experience.' Their hosts are Clive, a taciturn figure, and Michela, his fragile girlfriend. Joining the group late are Vince, a banker trying to make sense of the flotsam of his existence, and his teenage daughter whom he feels moving inexorably away from him. The dangerous river manages to bring out the group's qualities and failings in the most urgent fashion, provoking sudden conflicts and unexpected shifts of alliance. An ideal love affair breaks down and an apparently impossible one timidly buds. A banal disagreement turns violent. Meanwhile, the hottest summer on record is filling the glacier-fed rivers with a melt water so wild that it is surely unwise of the distracted instructors to launch their party into the last day's descent of the upper Aurina...

Calm

Calm

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/05/2017

How do we find calm in our frantic modern world? Tim Parks - lifelong sceptic of all things spiritual - finds himself on a Buddhist meditation retreat trying to answer this very question. With brutal honesty and dry wit, he recounts his journey from disbelief to something approaching inner peace and tackles one of the great mysteries of our time - how to survive in this modern age. Selected from the book Teach us to Sit Still by Tim Parks VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS. A series of short books by the world's greatest writers on the experiences that make us human Also in the Vintage Minis series: Swimming by Roger Deakin Motherhood by Helen Simpson Work by Joseph Heller Liberty by Virginia Woolf

Thomas and Mary

Thomas and Mary

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/01/2017

'Somehow it seemed to him the only thing that would really solve the problem would be to return to the sea and find the old ring with their names and the wedding date engraved inside, in 22-carat gold, and put it on again and then the world would magically return to what it had been before. Many years before. This did not happen.' Thomas and Mary have been married for thirty years. They have two children, a dog, a house in the suburbs. But after years of drifting apart, things - finally - come to a head. In this love story in reverse, Tim Parks recounts what happens when youthful devotion has long given way to dog walking, separate bed times, and tensions over who left the fridge door open. Lurching from comedy to tragedy, via dependence, cold re-examination, tenderness and betrayal, Thomas and Mary is a fiercely intimate chronicle of a marriage - capturing the offshoots of pain sent through an entire family, when the couple at its heart decide it's all over.

Life and Work

Life and Work

Author: Tim Parks Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/08/2016

In this brilliant collection, a renowned critic vividly depicts the dynamic relationships between authors, their work, and their readers Acclaimed novelist and critic Tim Parks has long been fascinated by the complicated relationship between an author's life and work. Dissatisfied with the dominant modes of reading he encountered, he began exploring the underlying values and patterns that guide authors in both their writing and their lives. In a series of provocative, incisive, and unflinching essays written over the past decade and collected for the first time here, he reveals how style and content in a novel reflect a whole pattern of communication and positioning in the author's ordinary and daily behavior. We see how life and work are deeply enmeshed in the work of writers as diverse as Charles Dickens, Feodor Dostoevsky, James Joyce, Anton Chekhov, Philip Roth, Julian Barnes, Peter Stamm, and Geoff Dyer, among others. Parks further shows us how readers' reactions to these writers and their works are inevitably connected to these communicative patterns, establishing a relationship that goes far beyond aesthetic appreciation. This original and daring collection takes us into the psychology of some of our greatest writers and challenges us to see with more clarity how our lives become entangled with theirs through our reading of their novels.

A Literary Tour of Italy

A Literary Tour of Italy

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/05/2016

An acclaimed author of novels and short stories, Tim Parks - who was described in a recent review as one of the best living writers of English - has delighted audiences around the world with his finely observed writings on all aspects of Italian life and customs. This volume contains a selection of his best essays on the literature of his adopted country. From Boccaccio and Machiavelli through to Moravia and Tabucchi, from the Stil Novo to Divisionism, across centuries of history and intellectual movements, these essays will give English readers, and lovers of the Bel Paese and its culture, the lay of the literary land of Italy.

Translating Style

Translating Style

Author: Tim Parks Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/01/2016

Arising from a dissatisfaction with blandly general or abstrusely theoretical approaches to translation, this book sets out to show, through detailed and lively analysis, what it really means to translate literary style. Combining linguistic and lit crit approaches, it proceeds through a series of interconnected chapters to analyse translations of the works of D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Henry Green and Barbara Pym. Each chapter thus becomes an illuminating critical essay on the author concerned, showing how divergences between original and translation tend to be of a different kind for each author depending on the nature of his or her inspiration. This new and thoroughly revised edition introduces a system of 'back translation' that now makes Tim Parks' highly-praised book reader friendly even for those with little or no Italian. An entirely new final chapter considers the profound effects that globalization and the search for an immediate international readership is having on both literary translation and literature itself.

Where I'm Reading From

Where I'm Reading From

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/01/2016

Should you finish every book you start? How has your family influenced the way you read? What is literary style? How is the Nobel Prize like the World Cup? Why do you hate the book your friend likes? Is writing really just like any other job? What happens to your brain when you read a good book? As a novelist, translator and critic, Tim Parks is well-placed to investigate any questions we have about books and reading. In this collection of lively and provocative pieces he talks about what readers want from books and how to look at the literature we encounter in a new light. These pieces were originally published as columns in the New York Review of Books.

Painting Death

Painting Death

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/09/2015

From the bestselling author of Italian Ways and Italian Neighbours comes a darkly comic new novel of murder in Veronese high society Morris Duckworth has a dark past. Having married and murdered his way into a wealthy Italian family he has now become a respected member of Veronese business life. But it's not enough. He comes up with a plan to put on the most exciting art exhibition of the decade, based on a subject close to his heart: killing. But as Morris meets stiff resistance from the director the museum, everything starts to unravel around him. His children are rebelling, his mistress is asking for more than he wants to give, his wife is increasingly attached to her ageing confessor, and worst of all it's getting harder and harder to ignore the ghosts that swirl around him, and the skeletons rattling in every cupboard...

A Literary Tour of Italy

A Literary Tour of Italy

Author: Tim Parks Format: Hardback Release Date: 15/06/2015

An acclaimed author of novels and short stories, Tim Parks - who was described in a recent review as one of the best living writers of English - has delighted audiences around the world with his finely observed writings on all aspects of Italian life and customs. This volume contains a selection of his best essays on the literature of his adopted country. From Boccaccio and Machiavelli through to Moravia and Tabucchi, from the Stil Novo to Divisionism, across centuries of history and intellectual movements, these essays will give English readers, and lovers of the Bel Paese and its culture, the lay of the literary land of Italy.

Italian Ways

Italian Ways

Author: Tim Parks Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/05/2014

Tim Parks's books on Italy have been hailed as so vivid, so packed with delectable details, [they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy. Parks begins as any traveler might: A train is a train is a train, isn't it? But soon he turns his novelist's eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians-conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants-Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino. Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians' sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?

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https://www.timparks.co.uk/

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