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?"
How can a leader be strong and decisive, yet still inspire loyalty in his followers? How do you keep your enemies in check? Is it better to be feared than loved? When is it necessary to break the rules? This shrewd handbook on how power really works answers all these questions by examining regimes and their rulers around the world and throughout history, from Roman emperors to renaissance Popes, from the savagely cruel Hannibal to the utterly devious Cesare di Borgia.
Tim Parks's gripping contemporary translation delivers Machiavelli's no-nonsense original straight, making it as alarming and enlightening as when it was first written.
Overwhelmed by a crippling condition which nobody could explain or relieve, Parks follows a fruitless journey through the conventional medical system only to find relief in the most unexpected place: a breathing exercise that eventually leads him to take up meditation. This was the very last place Parks anticipated finding answers; he was about as far from New Age as you can get.
As everything that he once held true is called into question, Parks confronts the relationship between his mind and body, the hectic modern world that seems to demand all our focus, and his chosen life as an intellectual and writer. He is drawn to consider the effects of illness on the work of other writers, the role of religion in shaping our sense of self, and the influence of sports and art on our attitudes toward 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.
Tim Parks is anything but a gentleman in Verona. So after ten years of living with his Italian wife, Rita, in an Italian condominium bubbling with Italian life around him, the novelist found that he had inadvertently collected a gallery full of splendid characters. In this wittily observed account, Parks introduces readers to his home, a typical provincial Italian neighborhood with a statue of the Virgin at one end of the street, a derelict bottle factory at the other, and a wealth of exotic flora and fauna in between.
Via Colombre, the village’s main street, offers an exemplary hodgepodge of all that is new and old in the bel paese, a point of collision between invading suburbia and diehard peasant tradition in a sometimes madcap, sometimes romantic, always mixed-up world of creeping vines, stuccoed walls, shotguns, security cameras, hypochondria, and expensive sports cars. More than a mere travelogue, Italian Neighbors is a vivid portrait of the real Italy and a compelling story of how even the most foreign people and places gradually assume the familiarity of home.
“One of the most delightful travelogues imaginable . . . so vivid, so packed with delectable details.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
From the author of Italian Neighbors, this is another sparkling account of Italian society and culture—this time focusing on all the little things that turn an ordinary newborn infant into a true Italiano.
When British-born Tim Parks heard a mother at the beach in Pescara shout to her son, “Alberto, don’t sweat! No you can’t go in the sea till eleven, it’s still too cold, go and see your cousin in row 3 number 52,” he was inspired to write about parenting in Italy—which he was doing himself at the time after adopting the country as his own. In this humorous memoir, Parks immerses himself in family life at home, in the classroom, and at church, creating an enchanting portrait of Italian childhood that shifts from comedy to despair in the time it takes to sing a lullaby. The result is “a wry, thoughtful, and often hilarious book . . . a parable of how our children, no matter what, are other than ourselves” (The New Yorker).
“Glimpses of Italy that are fond, critical, pithy and penetrating.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
From Udine to Catania, from the San Siro to the Olimpico, traveling with the raucous and unruly Verona fans—whose conduct is a cross between that of asylum inmates and the Keystone Kops—Tim Parks offers his highly personal account of one man’s relationship with a country, its people, and its national sport. The clubs are struggling, as always, to keep their heads above water in Series A. The fans, as always, are accused of vulgarity, racism, and violence. It’s an election year and politics encroaches. The police are ambiguous, the journeys exhausting, the referees unforgivable, the anecdotes hilarious. And behind it all is the growing intuition that in a world stripped of idealism and bereft of religion, soccer offers a new and fiercely ironic way of forming community and engaging with the sacred.
But Beth is fighting demons. She came here at a crossroads in her life, caught between an older lover who wouldn’t choose her and a young one who wants to marry her, and she may have caused another man’s death when she risked her own life swimming out to sea in a gale. A singer in a band, vital and impulsive, fleshy and sexy, she has been a rebel and a provocateur. And now, conflicted and wandering, she stumbles on a diary in the men’s dorm and cannot keep away from it, or the man who wrote it. At the same time, desiring—all too hard—to achieve the inner peace that Buddhist practice promises, she yearns for the example set by the slim, silent, white-clad teacher Mi Nu, and maybe yearns for something more.
Comic and poignant at the same time, swiftly paced and completely engaging, Sex Is Forbidden is an entertaining novel about two profoundly different attitudes to life, and Beth—our narrator—is a character to be savored.
But this supposed pillar of society has been leading a double life for far too long. Just when he seems to have it all—success, money, a wonderful family—everything is about to fall apart. On the eve of a shocking murder trial, a young woman from his past—who holds an explosive secret that could threaten both his family and his career—begins making mysterious phone calls to his house. As lives and lies tangle inside his courtroom, Judge Savage finds his own existence spiraling downward into violence, blackmail, deception, and confusion that will keep readers guessing to the last page.