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Bestselling author of Italian Ways Tim Parks follows the hair-raising journey of Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi, 250-miles on foot from Rome to Ravenna, to explore Italy's past and present.
In the summer of 1849, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy's legendary revolutionary hero, was finally forced to abandon his defence of Rome. He and his men had held the besieged city for three long months, but now it was clear that only surrender would prevent slaughter and destruction at the hands of a much superior French army.
Against all odds, Garibaldi was determined to turn defeat into moral victory. On the evening of 2 July, riding alongside his pregnant wife Anita, he led 4,000 hastily assembled volunteers out of the city to continue the struggle for national independence in the countryside. Hounded by both French and Austrian armies, the garibaldini marched hundreds of miles through Umbria and Tuscany, then across the Appenines, Italy's mountainous spine, until, after thirty-two exhausting days of skirmishes and adventures, 250 survivors boarded fishing boats on the Adriatic coast in an ill-fated attempt to reach the independent Republic of Venice.
It would be ten years and much world-wandering before Garibaldi would astonish the world when his revolutionary campaign in Sicily became the catalyst to the unification of Italy. This is the lesser-known story, brought vividly to life by bestselling author Tim Parks, who in the blazing summer of 2019, together with his partner Eleonora, followed Garibaldi and Anita's arduous journey. The Hero's Way is a fascinating portrait of Italy past and present, and a celebration of determination, creativity, desperate courage and profound belief.
'Parks...offers detailed cultural observation, witty yet eagle-eyed, of what makes Italians so Italian' The Times
How does Italy really work?
When Valeria travels from hot, dusty Basilicata to begin her studies in a northern university town, she has little idea of the kind of education she will find there. Italian Life is her story, and that of the students and professors around her: a story of power and corruption, influence and exclusion, and the workings of a society where your connections are everything.
Written with flair and insight, Italian Life joins Tim Parks' bestselling books about his beloved and paradoxical adopted country. It is a gripping, entertaining, behind-the-scenes account of how Italy actually happens, and the ways it can surprise those who know it inside out.
'A satisfyingly truthful, entertaining and provocative comedy' Daily Telegraph
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.
Thomas needs to speak to his mother before she dies.
But he's set to give a talk to a conference of physiotherapists in the Netherlands; if he leaves now will he get to her deathbed in time?
Will he be able to say what he couldn't say before? He can't concentrate on what is happening now: his mind won't sit still. Should he try to solve his friend's marital crisis? Should he reconsider his separation from his own wife? And why does he need to pee again?
In Extremis is Tim Parks's masterwork: a darkly hilarious and deadly serious novel about infidelity, mortality and the frailties of the human body.
How have the modern world, technology and our addiction to information changed who we are? What effect does it have on our relationships, minds and bodies? What can the simple act of sitting still teach us about ourselves?
When Tim Parks fails to find a cause for his crippling chronic pain, he turns to meditation. This is, however, not your average self-help book or conversion story; instead, it is a refreshingly honest and profoundly moving introspection of one writer and his quest to overcome the inner battle between mind and body. A revelatory read with delightful cultural and literary references, Teach us to Sit Still by Booker-shortlisted author Tim Parks examines how the philosophy of 'sit still, relax and stop worrying' can be profoundly life-altering.
‘Teach us to Sit Still made me laugh; it made me cry; and it made me seriously think about taking up Vispassana meditation’ The Times
A tirare con maestria le fila della narrazione è Tim Parks, scrittore e giornalista inglese che vive in Italia da quarant'anni e che ha imparato a conoscere a fondo il Bel Paese, la sua storia e i suoi abitanti. Con lo sguardo obiettivo dello straniero e l'affetto profondo di chi ha eletto quest'angolo di mondo a propria casa, Parks riesce a descrivere l'Italia semplicemente per com'è, senza sminuirne le bellezze né nasconderne magagne e assurdità. E oggi è pronto a consegnarci una riflessione tragicomica su ciò che rende unica - nel bene e nel male - la vita nello Stivale.
Is my experience real?
Or just a movie in my head?
Am I no more than a super computer?
You are your brain, neuroscientists tell us. Everything happens in there. Yet even the most sophisticated brain scan cannot tell us who we are. Nothing in our neurons remotely suggests the rich nature of our experience, the colours, sounds and smells that make up our lives.
When Tim Parks came across a radical new theory of consciousness, he set on a quest that moves through one sparkling encounter after another to arrive at the deepest of questions: what stuff exactly is consciousness made of? And where is it? Inside or out?
‘An exceptionally witty and compelling look at the nature of consciousness… Parks is a delight to read’ Iain McGilchrist
‘[It has] wit, humanity and insight… Parks is an entertaining companion throughout’ Mail on Sunday
‘Somehow it seemed to him the only thing that would really solve the problem would be to return to the sea and find the old ring with their names and the wedding date engraved inside, in 22-carat gold, and put it on again and then the world would magically return to what it had been before. Many years before.
This did not happen.’
Thomas and Mary have been married for thirty years. They have two children, a dog, a house in the suburbs. But after years of drifting apart, things – finally – come to a head.
In this love story in reverse, Tim Parks recounts what happens when youthful devotion has long given way to dog walking, separate bed times, and tensions over who left the fridge door open.
Lurching from comedy to tragedy, via dependence, cold re-examination, tenderness and betrayal, Thomas and Mary is a fiercely intimate chronicle of a marriage – capturing the offshoots of pain sent through an entire family, when the couple at its heart decide it’s all over.
From Boccaccio and Machiavelli through to Moravia and Tabucchi, from the Stil Novo to Divisionism, across centuries of history and intellectual movements, these essays will give English readers, and lovers of the Bel Paese and its culture, the lay of the literary land of Italy.
“So inviting you might find yourself tempted to give the experience a whirl and ride the Italian trains yourself, book in hand.”—Liesl Schillinger, New York Times Book Review
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?"