Juggling the Stars

Overview

Morris Duckworth teaches English to the pampered rich of Verona, and Morris is not pleased. Living a meager existence in a squalid apartment, he regards his privileged students with envy and disdain, first wreaking revenge by petty theft and then, like all good criminals, graduating to grander larceny. He ultimately schemes to "steal" a seventeen-year-old heiress, but to his surprise and chagrin her parents unequivocally reject the marriage proposal. So he concocts a clumsy kidnapping that the besotted girl ...
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First. Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: First. ] Publisher: Grove Pr Pub Date: 3/1/1993 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 218.

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First. Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: First. ] Publisher: Grove Pr Pub Date: 3/1/1993 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 218.

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1990 Hardcover Good Hardcover in Very Good Dust Jacket. Ex-library with typical indications. Dust Jacket is wrapped in mylar sleeve. Text is clean, bright and unmarked. Tight ... binding. pp. 218. Read more Show Less

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Very Good condition. Very Good dust jacket.

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New York, NY 1993 Hardcover First Ed USA, later printing. Very Near Fine in Very Near Fine DJ. Book shows lower rear corner very mildly bumped. Binding sqaure and secure; text ... clean Dustwrapper shows light rubbing to sheen; faint sunning at inside top edge of flap; mylar-protected. Very close to 'As New'. NOT a Remainder, Book-Club, or Ex-Library. 8vo. 217pp. First Ed USA, second printing. Hardcover with dustwrapper. Morris Duckworth, an unhappy and poverty-stricken English teacher in Verona, descends deeper and deeper into crime and violence as he moves from petty theft to a plot to kidnap a wealthy heiress who has fallen in love with him. This is one of the scariest books I've ever read. A totally believable and wonderfully orchestrated psychological thriller, grounded in class and sexual consciousness, dark with menace; more than once I put it down to catch my breath. Read more Show Less

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1993 Hardcover First Used: Like New in Fine jacket 9780802115010. Unmarked, as new 1st ed.

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1993-03 Hardcover Very Good Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated Date of Publication: 1993 Binding: Hard Cover Edition: 1st Print Condition: Very Good/Very Good Description: ... 0802115012 Very Good in Very Good jacket Very Good in Near Fine jacket8vo-over 7. Read more Show Less

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1993 Hardcover Near Fine/Near Fine 0802115012 first printing clean and tight in a great jacket (mys.

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New York, New York, U.S.A. 1993 Hardcover 1st Edition Very Good in Like New jacket No writing inside the book. the cover and dust jacket is in excellent condition.

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Overview

Morris Duckworth teaches English to the pampered rich of Verona, and Morris is not pleased. Living a meager existence in a squalid apartment, he regards his privileged students with envy and disdain, first wreaking revenge by petty theft and then, like all good criminals, graduating to grander larceny. He ultimately schemes to "steal" a seventeen-year-old heiress, but to his surprise and chagrin her parents unequivocally reject the marriage proposal. So he concocts a clumsy kidnapping that the besotted girl perceives as an elopement. Following a frightening logic, Morris's subversions become deeper and darker, each outrage proffering its own twisted excuse. Soon events are spiraling with eerie momentum into a nightmare of deception and violence.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The virtuosic Parks, whose highly praised novels ( Family Planning et al.) use restrained irony with chilling effect, and whose recent nonfiction work, Italian Neighbors , wittily evokes that country from an outsider's perspective, has combined both skills and added a dimension of macabre imagination in this corker of a psychological thriller. Parks creates a memorable protagonist: a smug, morally empty Englishman living in Italy who lies, steals and murders without compunction, convinced that he is intellectually superior to his victims. Smarmy Morris Duckworth blames everyone but himself for the misfortunes that destroyed his once promising future: sent down from Cambridge, he was forced to bear the jibes (``pansy/weakling'') of his brutish, vulgar father, and then he managed to sabotage every job opportunity through vainglorious boasting. Now he is living penuriously in Verona, tutoring spoiled Italian students for their university exams. His devious scheme to marry wealthy teenager Massimina Trevisan segues into a seriocomic, picaresque caper during which Morris casually dispatches people who thwart his desires. The reader turns pages in horrified fascination, waiting for the wheels of justice to turn, but Park's's final surprise is the quintessential irony. In the hands of a less talented author, a self-pitying whiner-turned-criminal might be a bore, but so deft is Parks's dissection of Morris's pathology that this taut narrative gains in suspense and surprise and sweeps to a shocking conclusion. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Morris Duckworth, a disgruntled English teacher in Verona, is a man blessed with taste and intelligence, if not wealth or a well-developed conscience. When a wealthy young student named Massimina falls for him, he quickly opts for marriage. After the girl's family rejects him and she runs away, he turns the supposed elopement into a bizarre kidnapping, using her without her knowledge to extort money from her family. As he attempts to keep his plan from unraveling, Morris's deceptions grow increasingly elaborate, culminating in a series of brutal, shocking crimes. Well-drawn characters, a clever plot, and Parks's usual combination of humor and mayhem make this a thriller with both style and substance. Recommended for most collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/92.-- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
A down-at-heel English teacher in Italy goes on a crime spree: in his sixth novel (but first thriller), the British expatriate Parks (the nonfiction Italian Neighbors, p. 658, etc.) turns up the heat, with wonderfully scary results. Morris Duckworth feels trapped. Two years teaching dumb rich kids in Verona and he's still dirt-poor, though what he admires most about Italians is their "stylishly flaunted wealth." The young Englishman mouths off into his dictaphone, scapegoating Dad in London, who physically abused his beloved mother (now dead) and who practically drove the "pansy/weakling" Morris from the house. Then, spontaneously, he steals an expensive document case on a train; the ease of the theft gives him a rush, so when one of his richest students, 17-year-old Massimina Trevisan, whom he's been half-seriously courting, runs away from home with her life savings, the temptation to exploit the situation is irresistible. Thus begins a combination elopement/kidnaping that takes the couple on a helter-skelter journey across Italy (though Morris checks in at Verona to assure family and police he knows nothing). Dexterously, Parks shows the occasional thief and habitual liar, the virgin (Morris's best-kept secret) with the raging Oedipus complex, moving down the slippery slope, turning into a full-blown psychopath who's "far too smart to be a killer" until killing becomes essential and who lubricates his rationalizations with a profound self-pity. The fact that we never know when the brilliant improviser will fumble his moves like "a stupid amateur...a boy in a mess" keeps us on a knife-edge. Parks shows he can juggle with the best of them. His move into the suspense field is atriumph.
San Francisco Chroncile
“Labyrinthine and chilling . . . a real page turner.”
Times Literary Supplement
“A sharp and witty thriller, expertly paced, frequently horrific, and often very funny.”
Time Out (London)
“Comparable to Highsmith at her best . . . A nail-biting drama with a daring dénouement.”
Independent
“An unusually classy thriller, true to life and not to be missed.”
Time Magazines Literary Supplement
“A sharp and witty thriller, expertly paced, frequently horrific, and often very funny.”
Time Out
“Comparable to Highsmith at her best . . . A nail-biting drama with a daring dénouement.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802115010
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Parks is the author of more than twenty novels and works of nonfiction, including the best-selling Italian Neighbors and An Italian Education. His novels include Europa which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His essays have appeared in the The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, for which he blogs. Tim Park is also a renowned translator. He lives in Italy.
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