A Season With Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Characters (Anglais) Relié – 10 juin 2002
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Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
"Parks knows his football, and he knows Italy still better. His adopted country, in all its enduring and exasperating strengths and weaknesses, comes vividly to life" (Sunday Times)
"A fascinating emotional journey... His descriptions of Italian football are descriptions of Italy itself, its regional differences, its squabbles, its distinctive temper" (Daily Telegraph)
"An enthralling, insightful account of the real Italy" (Independent) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
Présentation de l'éditeur
Tim Parks goes on the road to follow the fortunes of Hellas Verona football club, to pay a different kind of visit to some of the world's most beautiful cities. This is a highly personal account of one man's relationship with a country, its people and its national sport. A book that combines the pleasures of travel writing with a profound analysis of one country's mad, mad way of keeping itself entertained. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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Better that this is written by a man of letters than by a journalist or a sportswriter, Parks at times becomes perhaps literate in studying the passion behind the football fans who seem to live and die by the fortunes of their favorites. Best of all, Parks chose a season that provided a riveting conclusion to a season of ups and downs. Sadly, a quick look at Italy's Serie A standings in early 2003 finds Hellas mired in mid-level Serie B.
Hellas fans are, at times, boisterous, irreverent, profane, vulgar, and, among the hard core, loyal to a fist fight and to a fault. Seeing them week by week, after a crazed introduction on the first, mind numbing rod trip to the south, Parks offers the insight of an Englishman not unfamiliar with football hooligans but also willing to try to understand the mind and life of the devoted Hellas fan.
Enjoy the passion.
Where it fails is in its more lofty ambitions of drawing a canvas of every aspect of life in Italy. The editing could have been more rigorous as the constant to-ing and fro-ing between football and non-football analogies is distracting, particularly in the middle third of the book.
No book written by a fan about fans can truly capture a global view of any game. This book certainly doesn't although it sometimes tries hard. For a more historical and analytical view of the game, I recommend Foot's book. However, if you're after something to give you an idea of the joy and bitterness of life on the terraces, read this.
In doing so, Parks excels at recreating emotional highs and lows and retelling specific anecdotes experienced over the course of the season. However, by attaching himself to these fans, he places himself in the uncomfortable position of riding along with some of Italy's most racist fans. He tries to deal with this a number of ways, from placing them in a broader context of a nation absorbing large numbers of refugees, to attempting to show that the racist cheers actually represent a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy brought about by sensationalist journalism. Neither approach is very credible and it's a shame that Parks kind of dances around it. More insightful is his analysis of the fans as self-appointed pariahs/Davids, sort of a mix of "Nobody likes us, and we don't care" and "It's us against the world."
As the season progresses, and Parks travels around Italy, one gets a very keen sense of the deep regionalism that exists in Italy. From politics to chanted terrace insults, there's a prominent theme of disdain for the "other". Other overall themes are lacking, as might be expected from a book written on the fly, but for the careful reader, there are some strong bits where he gets into corruption both in football and Italian society, or his meditation on the psyche of the referee. Another fun aspect to the book is that it contains a plethora of vile Italian insults and terrace chants, which are often quite hilarious.
One thing that is a bit off about it, is that is only obliquely references Joe McGinniss' excellent book The Miracle of Castel Di Sangro, in which McGinniss also recounts a year following an Italian. It's a shame, 'cause the two books take quite different approaches (McGinniss is an outsider to soccer, can't speak Italian, and follows the team from within), making them rather complimentary. On the whole, I found McGinniss' more enjoyable, and more likely to appeal to the general reader, although neither author is very good at describing action on the pitch. In any event, both paint a picture of league riddled with corruption, game fixing, and bribery, which begs the question of why anyone would bother caring deeply about it?
I mean, I do get the whole group mentality male bonding deal that soccer fandom is all about but what i really wanted to know more than anything from this book was why Italian soccer is so popular yet so mindnumbingly dull to watch. How many 0-0, 1-0 matches does Italian Serie A produce? I wanted to find out why a vibrant and colorful culture of fandom (and food, art, fashion, politics, etc.) can somehow produce possibly the worst excuse for entertainment on the soccer pitch ever.
Basically this book is all about Hellas Verona football club in Italy, and their battle to stay in the top division in Italy, Serie A. They are one of the most, if not the most, unfashionable clubs in Italy to support, due to the media's overblown coverage of the club's racism problems.
In this book you'll find out about many interesting fans and the sometimes hilarious, sometimes appalling, things they got upto throughout a tense season. It's a totally factual account and that makes this all the more intriguing. If you thought you knew everything about Italian football then take a read of this, you'll be surprised at what really goes on. You thought rivalry was bad in English football!
Not only did Verona have to battle the media and their reputation, but added to that was the fact that they did not have the resources of huge clubs like Inter Milan and Juventus.
Tim Parks wrote this book extremely well, never baffling the reader or losing the plot. It's very enjoyable and added to that you'll learn snippets of the Italian language and all about the Italian way of life.
A superb read.