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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
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.
The Medici are famous as the rulers of Florence at the high point of the Renaissance. Their power derived from the family bank, and this book tells the fascinating, frequently bloody story of the family and the dramatic development and collapse of their bank (from Cosimo who took it over in 1419 to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent who presided over its precipitous decline). The Medici faced two apparently insuperable problems: how did a banker deal with the fact that the Church regarded interest as a sin and had made it illegal? How in a small republic like Florence could he avoid having his wealth taken away by taxation? But the bank became indispensable to the Church. And the family completely subverted Florence's claims to being democratic. They ran the city. Medici Money explores a crucial moment in the passage from the Middle Ages to the Modern world, a moment when our own attitudes to money and morals were being formed.To read this book is to understand how much the Renaissance has to tell us about our own world. Medici Money is one of the launch titles in a new series, Atlas Books, edited by James Atlas. Atlas Books pairs fine writers with stories of the economic forces that have shaped the world, in a new genre - the business book as literature.
Promoted young to the position of Crown Court Judge - because of his ability, but perhaps also for certain questions of political convenience - it's time for Daniel Savage to settle down. Perhaps his marriage is happy enough after all. Teenage children require a father's attention. His career demands the most responsible behaviour. Day by day Judge Savage presides over those whose double lives have been exposed. He must be above suspicion. But why does his daughter refuse to move to their spacious new house? Why does a young Korean woman keep phoning him to beg for help? As the most tangled lives are ironed out in court, Daniel Savage's own existence descends into a mess of violence and confusion. English society has fragmented into an incomprehensible public gallery where every face conceals a different culture. And those with whom we have the greatest intimacy are suddenly the most frighteningly mysterious.
Is Italy a united country, or a loose affiliation of warring states? Is Italian football a sport, or an ill-disguised protraction of ancient enmities? Tim Parks goes on the road to follow the fortunes of Hellas Verona football club, to pay a different kind of visit to some of the world's most beautiful cities. This is a highly personal account of one man's relationship with a country, its people and its national sport. A book that combines the pleasures of travel writing with a profound analysis of one country's mad, mad way of keeping itself entertained.
From Svevo, Saba and Joyce in Trieste to Borges, Rushdie and psychopathology, Tim Parks new collection of essays confirms his mastery of the essay form. Other subjects include Saramago, Sebald, Seth, Henry Green, Christina Stead, Leopardi, Verga, Montale, Sironi in Fascist Italy, Buzzati, Bateson and Neugeboren.
Am I giving the impression that I don't like the Veneto? It's not true. I love it. But like any place that's become home I hate it too. How does an Englishman cope when he moves to Italy - not the tourist idyll but the real Italy? When Tim Parks first moved to Verona he found it irresistible and infuriating in equal measure; this book is the story of his love affair with it. Infused with an objective passion, he unpicks the idiosyncrasies and nuances of Italian culture with wit and affection. Italian Neighbours is travel writing at its best.
How does an Italian become Italian? Or an Englishman English, for that matter? Are foreigners born, or made? In An Italian Education Tim Parks focuses on his own young children in the small village near Verona where he lives, building a fascinating picture of the contemporary Italian family at school, at home, at work and at play. The result is a delight: at once a family book and a travel book, not quite enamoured with either children or Italy, but always affectionate, always amused and always amusing.
Three months after returning to England, Christopher Burton, receives a phone-call at the reception desk of the Rembrandt Hotel, Knightsbridge that informs him of his son's suicide. But why on receiving this terrible news, does Burton immediately decide that he must leave his Italian wife of thirty years standing? Why does he find it so difficult to focus on his grief for his son? Intensely dramatic, dark and, against all odds, hilariously funny, Destiny is a satisfying story and a profound meditation on marriage and identity. Parks gives us a frightening experience of what it means to tread the narrow line between sanity and psychosis.
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 Oxford 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.
'Adultery & Other Diversions' is a collection of genre-defying non-fiction pieces from the author of Italian Neighbours and the Booker-shortlisted Europa.
Discover Tim Parks' darkly funny and deeply prescient Booker prize-shortlisted novel about the European experience. A brilliantly comic and dyspeptic novel about an obsessive love gone sour. Europa follows Jerry Marlow, a middle-aged Brit teaching at an Italian university, as he and his colleagues embark on a coach trip to Strasbourg in order to petition the European Parliament for improved working conditions. Jealousy and revenge, passion and dread intertwine in one man's soul as he's trapped in the awful claustrophobia of the trip with a group of people he loathes - and the woman who broke his heart. 'The best thing about Europa is the voice Tim Parks conjures up: Marlow's wry, defeated reason keeps you turning the pages...reminding us that it is far easier to unite a sprawling continent than the few cubic metres that contain a human soul' Sunday Times
THE BOOK: Raymond has gone mad. Why? Was is some infant trauma, an enzyme imbalance, parental mistreatment? And what is to be done about it? Will anyone take the responsibility for Raymond? The NHS? His parents? His brothers and sisters? They have planned out their lives so carefully a family casualty is definitely not part of the equation. Will Raymond let them help him anyway? He seems to return hate for love, savagery for kindness. More disturbingly, if they try to abandon him, will he ever leave them alone?
The gift of tongues, prophecy exorcism...what might such concepts mean in a complacent backwater of North London? For Richard Bowen, adolescence becomes a nightmare when his parents join the charismatic movement and find a devil in his brother. Winner of the Somerset Maugham and Betty Trask Awards.
A sequel to Cara Massimina. Morris can't get over the Italian girl who eloped with him two years ago, but perhaps the dear, dead Mimi can't get over him either. Living in Verona and married to her sister, he hears Mimi's voice and sees her endlessly reincarnated face in Renaissance madonnas.
Bored and broke, Morris Duckworth, an English teacher in Verona, stumbles on a plan for financial salvation - to marry Massimina, a seventeen-year-old student. And if his intentions are frustrated by a suspicious, conservative family, is it any fault of his that the lovely girl chooses to elope? Obsessed by self-advancement and excitement, Morris' dreams of blackmail, theft and murder plunge him deep into a chilling nightmare of deception and violence.
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?