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A Season with Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Characters
Synopses & Reviews
Is Italy a united country, or a loose affiliation of warring states? Is Italian football (which we Americans know as "soccer") a sport, or an ill-disguised protraction of ancient enmities? After twenty years in the bel paese, Tim Parks goes on the road to follow the fortunes of his hometown soccer club, Hellas Verona, to pay a different kind of visit to some of the world's most beautiful cities, and to get a fresh take on the conundrum that is national character.
From Udine to Catania, from 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 Cops — 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 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.
A Season with Verona is a book that combines the tension of cliff-hanging narrative with the pleasures of travel writing, and the stimulation of a profound analysis of one?s country?s mad, mad way of keeping itself entertained. At the end of it all the reader will be convinced that there is no boundary between ordinary life and sport.
"In clear, vibrant, gleefully un-PC prose he describes stadium crowds; jam-packed buses, trains, and planes; significant moments in games; and the surly, unpredictable way that chance becomes a player." Kirkus Reviews
"A Season With Verona is enthralling. Parks brings to his intense scrutiny of these footballing mediocrities, their fans and their tortured, twisted management, his considerable gifts as a novelist and a critic." Michael Glover, London Financial Times
Parks spent a full year following the fortunes--and misfortunes--of the Verona soccer club. This is his rollicking report that combines the tension of narrative with the pleasures of travel writing.
About the Author
Tim Parks is the author of ten novels and several works of nonfiction: Italian Neighbors, An Italian Education, Adultery and Other Diversions, Hell and Back, and the soon to be published A Season with Verona. He has been awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the Betty Trask Award. His novel Europa was short-listed for the Booker Prize. He and his family live in Verona, Italy.
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