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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.
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.
'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.
Picture the Italian Alps in summer and a mixed group of canoeists going white water rafting for the first time on a glacier fed river. Parks brilliantly portrays the disparate individuals and the river in its most dangerous poise brings out qualities and failings in the most urgent fashion, provokes 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. Rapids is alive with the drama of the water and the fragility of the people it bears along. Comparisons: Brian Moore, Ian McEwan, Justin Cartwright
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?
Sex is forbidden at the Dasgupta Institute. So what is the sparkling, magnetically attractive Beth Marriot doing here? Beth is fighting demons: a catastrophic series of events has undermined all prospect of happiness. Trauma leaves her no alternative but to bury herself in the austere asceticism of a community that wakes at 4am, doesn't permit eye contact, let alone speech, and keeps men and women strictly segregated. But the curious self dies hard. Conflicted and wayward, Beth stumbles on a diary and cannot keep away from it, or the man who wrote it. Originally published with the title The Server
Morris can't get over Mimi. But then he should have thought of that before he murdered her and married her sister. Now Mimi's back, as a ghost, and she seems to be suggesting the way to redemption for Morris. He must help the poor immigrants of Verona; but if anybody should get in his charitable way then so much the worse for them...
Julia has left home. She has gone to Italy. She has left her lover, her job, her flat, the closely-knit group of friends who meant so much to her. Why? And the motley group of ex-pats she finds in Verona, the Oxbridge brigade, the revolutionary Scot, the cool Canadian, the feminist Flossy - why do they find it so impossible to return home, as if their very identities depend somehow on this thousand-mile displacement? Centred around a love story full of twists, turns and revelations, Home Thoughts explores a world of lost directions, wavering commitments and misplaced ambitions as Julia's adventurous departure confronts her more mercilessly than ever with the problem of what on earth she is to do with her life.
George Crawley has finally got his life running along satisfyingly straight lines. Having made a success of his career and saved his faltering marriage, he is secure in the belief that he is master of his own destiny. Then comes the tragic blow - fate presents him with an apparently insoluble problem. Except that the word 'insoluble' just isn't part of the man's vocabulary. George will stop at nothing, nothing, to get his life back on the rails again.
An English geologist working on a Mediterranean island becomes embroiled in a nightmare web of deceit, corruption, lust and tragedy in Tim Parks' mesmeric story of a man whose life will be shattered like the fatal fragment of stone that obsesses him.
Tight and disturbing, Loving Roger begins with a dead body and a chilling question. Why has nice, ordinary, affectionate Anna picked up her kitchen knife and murdered the man she insists she loves?...This brief novel is a mordantly illuminating essay on the way love contains the seeds of vindictiveness and hatred Observer.
Bored and broke, Morris Duckworth, an English teacher in Verona, stumbles on a plan for financial salvation - to marry Massimina, one of his lovelier students. And if his intentions are frustrated by a suspicious, conservative family, is it any fault of his that the girl chooses to elope? Obsessed by self-advancement and excitement, Morris's dreams of blackmail, theft and murder plunge him deep into a chilling nightmare of deception and violence.
An invigorating discussion of general ills, this collection of autobiographical essays ranges over adultery and parenthood, ghosts and gods, fiction and football. Living in Italy seems to sharpen the author's prose and make him even more cleverly English. A splendid volume of fascinating belles-lettres'. Mail on Sunday.
In Hell and Back, Tim Parks reminds us just how exciting the essay form can be - turning his attention to classic authors like Dante, Borges and Leopardi, as well as various contemporary writers including Vikram Seth, W.G. Sebald and Salman Rushdie.
Raymond is mad, clever, manipulative and totally out of his parents' control. The other children are lying low, though still inextricably attached to their father's purse-strings. Amidst hilarious misunderstandings and poignant inadequacies, six well-meaning people relentlessly engineer their own and their loved ones' downfall.
A riveting white-water ride down a raging river in the Italian Alps, pitting people against Nature, in "e;the novel Tim Parks was born to write"e; (Sunday Telegraph, London). When 15 vacationers-six adults and nine adolescents-arrive in the Italian Alps to try their kayaking skills against the wild waters of the upper Aurino River, they have no idea what harrowing events await them. Among the group are the London banker Vince- recently widowed and trying to make sense of his life-and his teenage daughter Louise. Their hosts are Clive, an enigmatic but commanding leader, and his alluring but fragile girlfriend, Michela. Their lives intertwine over the next week in ways none could have foreseen, as they test their courage and varying abilities against the roaring waters, the rocks both seen and sunken, the endless treacherous logs, the flotsam and driftwood that become a liquid trap, as the threat of death accompanies them downstream. Rapids grippingly evokes the vertiginous thrill of entering a hostile environment, of being at the limit of control. Tim Parks's latest novel is alive with the drama of the water and the fragility of the people it bears along.Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade, Yucca, and Good Books imprints, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in fictionnovels, novellas, political and medical thrillers, comedy, satire, historical fiction, romance, erotic and love stories, mystery, classic literature, folklore and mythology, literary classics including Shakespeare, Dumas, Wilde, Cather, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
For some time now, I have been plagued, perhaps blessed, by dreams of rivers and seas, dreams of water. Just days after controversial anthropologist Albert James writes these elusive lines to his son John, he is dead. Abandoning his girlfriend in London, John flies to Delhi to join his mother in mourning. But the nature of his father's research and the circumstances of his death are far from clear and, on top of this, John must confront his mother's coolness, and the strangeness of the cremation ceremony that she has organised for his father. No sooner is the body consigned to the flames than a journalist arrives, determined to write a biography of the dead man, and though his mother will have nothing to do with the project, she cannot keep away from the journalist.
One of Britain's outstanding novelists, Tim Parks is also a provocative, entertaining and accomplished essayist. This new collection's title is drawn from D. H. Lawrence's fundamental belligerence, and how all the significant relationships in his life, including those with his readers and critics, were characterised by intense intimacy and ferocious conflict. Elsewhere there are literary essays on tension and conflict in the work of Beckett or Hardy, Bernhard and Dostoevsky, amongs others. Parks is also known for his acerbic chronicles of Italian life and here are essays on Mussolini, Machiavelli and the Medici. Besides discussing questions of history, politics and literature, The Fighter also takes on that most serious tussle: World Cup football.
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.
Overweight and overwrought, Howard Cleaver, London's most successful journalist, abruptly abandons home, partner, mistresses and above all television, the instrument that brought him identity and power. It is the autumn of 2004 and Cleaver has recently enjoyed the celebrity attending his memorable interview with the President of the United States and suffered uncomfortable scrutiny following the publication of his elder son's novelised autobiography. He flies to Milan and heads deep into the South Tyrol, fetching up in the village of Luttach. His quest: to find a remote mountain hut, to get beyond the reach of email, and the mobile phone, and the interminable clamour of the public voice. Weeks later, snowed in at five thousand feet, harangued by voices from the past and humiliated by his inability to understand the Tyrolese peasants he relies on for food and whisky, Cleaver discovers that there is nowhere so noisy and so dangerous as the solitary mind.