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A Season With Verona [Format Kindle]

Tim Parks

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For the last few months Anglo-Italian novelist Tim Parks has been writing of his devotion to Italian football club Hellas Verona in The Guardian. In A Season with Verona we get a chance to read the full and absorbing narrative that lay behind those short snippets.

In some ways the book is a standard travelogue. In following his lowly Series A team in their seasonal slog around Italy, Parks gets to visit all the famous sights and cities. What makes this journey so different and so interesting is that Parks is accompanied by vividly ordinary, honestly working-class, determinedly urban Italians and gets to share their Nick Hornbyish highs and lows. This in turn provides a credible, fresh and revealing insight into the Italian character. These fans do all the normal soccer-supporter things like fight, drink, despair, exult, rant and put each other in comas; but they also do more surprising things, like sing songs in praise of the murderous Liverpool fans of Heysel and give voice to racist feelings about their southern compatriots.

This may not sound like most people's image of southern loveliness. Indeed it isn't. But it is a much needed antidote to all that saccharine-sweet Under The Tuscan Sun stuff; and it also makes this book a splendid bedside companion to the Italian campaign in the next, or indeed any, World Cup. --Sean Thomas

From Publishers Weekly

arks (Italian Neighbors; Tongues of Flame) sets a daunting task of analyzing the life and mindset of a soccer fan in the wake of Nick Hornby's runaway hit, Fever Pitch, which is to many one of the finer books on soccer. He takes the reader on a tour of Italy, supporting his adopted home team of Hellas Verona through a season in Serie A. Parks in part sets out to examine the Italian national consciousness through the lens of Verona supporters. "The north-east of Italy, Verona in particular, is stigmatized as irretrievably racist. It is also considered bigoted, workaholic, uncultured, crude and gross." Hellas Verona have prided themselves on never having a black player on the pitch (until recently). Their fans shout monkey chants whenever an opposing black player touches the ball. It's a disgraceful part of soccer behavior that is well worth exploring, and this is when Parks is at his best. "I suggest... that the frequent talk about `defeating' racism on the terraces is a mistake. The word `defeat' only provokes the hardliners. They don't come to the stadium to think of themselves as defeated." When he applies his social criticism, he is able to engage on many levels, but when Parks gets caught up in play-by-play analysis he loses focus and his story. He travels with the team's fans in old creaky buses, singing songs and drinking beer. Parks's fanaticism toward lowly Hellas Verona is not unique, and the supporters are not the worst of Italy. Parks's prose often sings with the bravado of the terraces, but the result is at best a draw.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3491 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 464 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital; Édition : New Ed (12 juin 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0089WGSDO
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°487.987 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 3.6 étoiles sur 5  24 commentaires
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Life on the "curva sud" with a real fan 10 mars 2003
Par Peter Lorenzi - Publié sur Amazon.com
An English academic, living and teaching in Northern Italy for the past twenty years, Tim Parks offers a colorful, rich, detailed account of a year (2000-01) following his historic local football club, Hellas Verona. This is a week-by-week, blow-by-blow account, up close and very personal. He starts as an interested observer and becomes a believer.
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.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 not perfect but gripping nonetheless 27 décembre 2007
Par KB-United-1983 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Parks vividly captures segments of life on the road following a not-so-glamourous and not-so-successful football team in one of the more cryptic, corrupt and colourful leagues in the world. Overall it is superb reading. The narrative of the season is skillfully depicted. From the blow by blow description of the first away trip to the hothouse atmosphere of the final match, it captures the excitement and dreariness of the season and provides moments of humour as well as disgust. Some of these fans and their behaviour are truly abhorent. However, that is the nature of the game and Parks is obliged to describe them. Whether you think he is overly sympathetic is toward the hard core fans is up to the reader to judge.
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.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Chievando Scudetto! 9 novembre 2002
Par A. Ross - Publié sur Amazon.com
Part travelogue, part mediation on the Italian national character, and part football memoir, Englishman Parks' diary of his season with the fans of Hellas Verona is a muddled but generally enjoyable hodgepodge of anecdotes and musings. A lifelong football fan, twenty year resident of Italy, and fluent speaker of Italian, Parks is an ably accredited guide to the myriad mysteries and intrigues of Italian professional football. His method was to attach himself to the hardcore fans of his local club and go to every home and away game in search of... well, something...
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?
6 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 ultimately nothing profoundly new here 23 juin 2005
Par Brian Maitland - Publié sur Amazon.com
It's not that this isn't a good book but if you've read any of these "follow the club for a season" book, it really offers nothing new other than following a team in another nation. Yes, we find out that all supporters seem hung up on chldish racist/sexist comments/chants. I did like the fact he incorporated Web site BBS postings as many of those were a laugh.
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.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 You'll be gripped from start to finish 23 décembre 2002
Par Jay M - Publié sur Amazon.com
Without doubt this is the best football book that I've ever read. Right from the start Tim Parks actually draws the reader into the unfolding drama and story, rather than it just being a case of you reading a book and just taking information in. You'll find yourself eagerly flicking pages to find out what happened next, sometimes I read this book deep (and I mean, deep!) into the early morning rather than put the book down.
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.
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