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Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks

Italian Neighbors (1992)

by Tim Parks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A birthday gift of my Milanese daughter in 1992, I read Parks with avid appreciation. Ironic intersection of English and Italian culture: for instance, the class of Italians who want to know foreigners, "They feel they have ideas bigger than the narrow mentality of the people around them"(74). But unlike in England, where such people would want to go to a city like Manchester or London, Italians feel it may be even worse in Rome.
"They look to the fairness and openmindedness of the efficient nations further north. Extraordinarily, they believe Britain to be such a nation."
Or the delicious conflict between a local, generous greengrocer and the village priest, who announces, "Something smells rotten in here." The grocer, "Maybe the carogna [rot] of the last person to walk in."
Or the women dressed in Sunday best (furs) out of church into the bar/restaurant: "There is a parade feeling about it all. From one institution to another: the host, the briosche" (131).
His Italian Education, three years later, is in some ways more profoundly and historically revealing.
In it I learned about the Freshman Compsition I taught for 38 years, which was always under pressure to address national issues. During Viet Nam, the war, during the nineties, another war. Turns out, during WWII, Italian students' papers were judged on how well they praised Mussolini.
I'm proud to say that Tim Parks spoke in the same series that I did, the yearly Italian lecture at SUNY-New Paltz, a couple years after I did in 2013. ( )
1 vote AlanWPowers | Oct 17, 2014 |
I think I've over-dosed on the "Briton living abroad" sub-genre of the memoir. The flow of the text seemed to get stuck so often when Parks would go out of his way to point out how different he found Italian culture. I found it quite tiresome after awhile. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 28, 2014 |
Less of a travelogue more of a journal about life in an Italian apartment. Still with a witty and charming cast of characters its a fun read. ( )
1 vote Harrod | Jun 14, 2013 |
Parks and his wife moved to Montecchio, a town near Verona, and rented a modern flat in a condominium building with three other flats. As you can probably guess from the title, the book is mainly about the people they come to know and how they become accepted into the community. They make friends with their difficult elderly neighbor, Lucilla, who thinks that she should have inherited the flat the Parkses rent after the owner died, and with another neighbor by agreeing to cooperate on some homemade prosecco. Parks combines his slice-of-life stories with some light social commentary, particularly about Italian government and the Italians' attitude toward government and law. Books by Brits and Americans about moving abroad are a dime a dozen (and I tend to read them whether they're good or not), but this one is particularly good. Parks is honest about life in Montecchio but not unkind, and he is quietly witty. Altogether an enjoyable read. ( )
2 vote carlym | Jul 4, 2011 |
Tim Parks has an engaging, sometimes humorous writing style, but I can hold no respect for this book. Aside from the pointless and meandering egotism the reader is forced to endure, the reader must also read about Parks and his wife actually attempting to poison a dog, because it is barking at night. Because it is supposed to be funny. They go so far as to buy rat poison and make a few tests about what the dog will eat. Thankfully, they decide not to go through with it.

What Tim Parks (and his wife) really needed were earplugs, a white noise machine, and some brains. ( )
  carrieprice78 | Mar 16, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tim Parksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kisling, C.M.L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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How to forget the day we arrived in Montecchio? How to even begin to describe the weather to someone who has not been in the Veneto in July?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802140343, Paperback)

In this deliciously seductive account of an 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, acclaimed novelist Tim Parks celebrates ten years of living with his wife, Rita, in Verona, Italy. More than a travel book, Italian Neighbors is a sparkling, witty, beautifully observed tale of how the most curious people and places gradually assume the familiarity of home. Selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Italian Neighbors is a rare work that manages to be both a portrait and an invitation for everyone who has ever dreamed about Italy.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:45 -0400)

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