Tim Parks

Tim Parks is a novelist and translator. He has been nominated for the Booker Prize twice. His latest book is ‘Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo’, published by Harvill Secker

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A man taking an Aspirin tablet

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We see illness as a technical problem with a technical solution

Molloy by Samuel Beckett, book of a lifetime: A mad, hilarious, strangely gripping episode

Sometime in my teens, our library began to stock vinyl LPs with readings of famous works of literature. Curious, I would borrow at random. So one day I heard a deep Irish voice announce, "I took advantage of being at the seaside to lay in a store of sucking stones." What was this?

Zadie Smith's On Beauty was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2005; US authors such as Jonathan Franzen may also now be considered for the prize.

The rise of the international literary award goes hand in hand with the decline of the novel

Want to get on as a novelist? Then write for the world

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi has been sentenced to seven years in prison

This week's big questions: Is there hope for the Italian economy? Will Berlusconi to go jail? Does Chiantishire still exist?

This week's questions are answered by novelist and translator Tim Parks

Psychological Notes: National character in Blair's New Britain

ONCE IT has been established that not all Italians are excitable and unreliable, that not all Germans are inflexible and authoritative, that not all Englishmen are phlegmatic and reserved, is there any point still in talking about national character?

Growing pains

`People say children keep you young, but that's not true. The person who stays young is the person who leaves his children or is ever busy elsewhere.' Tim Parks reflects wistfully on the generation gap. Illustrati on by Toby Morison

Gentleman of Verona: Put to the test

Of all the tedious ways to spend an afternoon, I know of none worse than to find yourself sitting on the thesis commission of an Italian university. On a stool behind a low podium, a girl is telling a microphone about a British feminist called Vera Brittain. Facts, figures, fulsome admiration. But I'm not paying attention. What I'm thinking about is the disastrous argument I got drawn into last night: a pleasant evening in a restaurant became a pitched battle when I would not show sufficient concern about the state of Third World debt. Apparently such nonchalance on my part was equivalent to singing in the bath only a stone's throw from the smoking crematoriums of Auschwitz. The man I was talking to had closed his account - closed his account! - when he found his bank was lending money to Mobutu. Facts, figures, furious indignation. As usual, I was torn between an awareness of the desperate lot of starving millions and a rejection of any attempt to convert me to a life of vigilant piety. "In conclusion," the rather pretty girl concludes, "I think Vera Brittain offers a shining example we would all do well to follow."

Ritual blessings

Gentleman of Verona

ghosts

When his father died, then reappeared, Tim Parks was forced to confront the impossible

Adultery

For men like Alistair, marriage is a prison, and infidelity offers escape and rejuvenation. But how can he leave his children? A modern morality tale by Tim Parks. Photo-illustrations by David Hiscock
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