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Italian Ways On and off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks

Italian Ways On and off the Rails from Milan to Palermo

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Sue Baker's view...

In a series of journeys, commutes and reflections we see the Italian Railway system at all its Italian best – and worst, the bureaucracy, the over manning, the jobs for family and friends, a mirror image of Italian society. Tim Parks is a seasoned rail traveller and can make you laugh and the reel at the adversity of his journeys. He also shows how precious a public rail network is and despairs at how the bureaucrats are chomping away at such an asset. It’s been a long wait for more of Tim Parks’ observations on his adopted home, Italy but with Italian Ways it was a worthy wait, he’s given us an unusual and penetrating view of Italians and the way they negotiate modern society.

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Who is Sue Baker


Italian Ways On and off the Rails from Milan to Palermo by Tim Parks

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.


All Italy is here, its history, its character, its flaws - Sunday Times

A treat equivalent to a ride on the Orient Express - Wall Street Journal

Like the best train journeys, you don't want it to end New Statesman A very funny hosanna to Italian railroad locomotion in all its rackety glory - Evening Standard, Books of the Year

About the Author

Tim Parks

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

2nd June 2014


Tim Parks

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Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing


288 pages


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Travel writing
Trains & railways: general interest



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