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Italian Ways

My husband and I have really enjoyed reading “Italian Ways” by Tim Parks, about his experiences with riding trains throughout the country, as a commuter and as a tourist. We started with this book rather than his better-known “Italian Neighbors”, about his early experiences as a British ex-Pat in Italy. We may move on to that after we finish “Hero’s Way: Walking with Garibaldi from Rome to Ravenna”, which we are reading now.

In this one, Parks and his wife follow in the footsteps of Garibaldi’s army as they trekked across the Apennines in 1949. We are learning about Garibaldi and his wife Anita, Italian history, and this lightly-touristed area of Italy. (And while we are avid hikers, we are not inspired to take on a similar trek after reading of the difficulties encountered by the author). Parks knows his history and writes well, with a sort of “bemused affection” (quoting from a review) toward his chosen country and its citizens.

Posted by
693 posts

Me, not so much - I thought the book plodded along - I gave up half way through. I just don't think he's that great a writer - I need the writer to take me along. It would be at the bottom end of books I've read about Italy.

If my meagre "library" wasn't in storage (downsizing) , I would add some of my favourites.

Posted by
13044 posts

Yes, I have seen from the reviews that not everyone cares for his writing.

Posted by
10052 posts

We loved reading Tim Parks' books and could identify with many of his Italian culture encounters. It is easier to laugh along if you know the culture more intimately as we do after living there.

I also like Beppi Severgnini, especially "Off the Rails."

Posted by
693 posts

"It is easier to laugh along if you know the culture more intimately"

I totally disagree - it's the author's job to take me there and in that, for me, Parks failed to do that.

Posted by
34 posts

Lola, thanks for the recommendation. I just borrowed an e-book (Hero’s Way) from our library and will get to it soon. We’re going to Dolomites and Lakes this October.

Posted by
13044 posts

We are 3/4 of the way through Hero’s Way and liking it more and more. The intimate little details he gives about Garibaldi’s March and management of the logistics, taken from first-hand accounts, are fascinating. A different way of looking at revolution.