Italian Education

Overview

Parks's Italian Neighbors chronicled his arrival in Italy and his initiation into the byzantine complexities of Italian social and cultural life. Never a tourist, no longer a "transient," he focuses, this time, on his children, born and bred in Italy, and on the other children in the small village near Verona where he lives. Parks builds a fascinating portrait of Italian family life: its often bizarre foibles and its extraordinary solidity, the moral contradictions, the rituals and rites of passage. With the eye ...
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Overview

Parks's Italian Neighbors chronicled his arrival in Italy and his initiation into the byzantine complexities of Italian social and cultural life. Never a tourist, no longer a "transient," he focuses, this time, on his children, born and bred in Italy, and on the other children in the small village near Verona where he lives. Parks builds a fascinating portrait of Italian family life: its often bizarre foibles and its extraordinary solidity, the moral contradictions, the rituals and rites of passage. With the eye for detail, intrigue, quirky connections, and character that has brought him so much acclaim as a novelist, Parks brings out the splendidly, sometimes dangerously, theatrical nature of Italian relationships, finding the roots of that explosive Latin cocktail of sentiment and calculation in his children's adventures at school, at home, in church, on the playing fields, in the countryside, in the shops and museums. And the whole panoramic journey winds up with a deliciously seductive evocation of an Italian beach holiday that epitomizes everything that's best about life in Italy and everything that makes it so different from our own.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Italian Neighbors, British-born Parks gave a wry portrait of his adopted Italy, where he lives with his native-born wife Rita in a village outside Verona. This engaging sequel is an affectionate family album focusing on the experience of raising their son, Michele, and daughter, Stefania, combined with general observations on childrearing practices in Italy. Parks believes the typical Italian child is born into a tight social matrix of caution, inhibition and a suffocating awareness of everything that can go wrong. For Italians, ``pregnancy is, inescapably, a pathology,'' and the intense mother-child relationship, suffused with eroticism, often produces young men with ``an extraordinarily inflated, mother-fed opinion of themselves.'' Beyond parenting, Parks serves up pungent cultural commentary. His Italy is a paradox, where an ancient mentality steeped in peasant Catholic traditions coexists with a hedonistic society that eagerly embraces all things modern. Parks's wit, eye for telling incident and sensuous prose make this a captivating family portrait. (July)
From the Publisher
“There is more here about the pleasurable business of coming from Italy than in any other book in the English language.” –Independent
“Vignettes…reminiscent of Calvino or Moravia.” –Sunday Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380727605
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 338
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Parks studied at Cambridge and Harvard and now lives near Verona with his wife and three children. His novel, Europa, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

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