D.w.'s Reviews > Italian Neighbors

Italian Neighbors by Tim Parks
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Jan 21, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: reviewed

There are a great deal of people giving this book praise. I can't be one of them. It was a good deal for the money that I paid, since I found it remaindered at Crown Books (Remember Crown?) for 2.99, instead of 19.95, which was indication then that too many of these books had been printed even then.

The problem that the telling is two fold. One of theme and one of technique. Reading Tim Parks was tiring. Short chapters that string together if you lead an existential life, but within these 5 and 10 page chapters are long paragraphs and almost non-existent dialogue told in first person. My brain aches from needing a rest between such long passages. Certainly I start to learn about the little part of the world Parks calls home, but the rhythm is all wrong. Good way to put me to sleep every night and that surely was not the intent of the author.

The second fault is that of theme. After more than half the book you realize that there is no story but to be told what life is like for the man in the city on the outskirts of Verona. There is no quest, there is no reason, it is just the telling of the exposure to the little world of Via Colombare, that you/I begin to wonder why? Do Frances Mayes and Peter Mayle have these same problems or are they more deft at showing us a story when one is transplanted to another culture.

For 2.99 instead of $20, it was worth an exploration but never a return visit.
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