Cover image for A season with Verona : travels around Italy in search of illusion, national character and - goals!
A season with Verona : travels around Italy in search of illusion, national character and - goals!
Parks, Tim.
Personal Author:
First North American edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Arcade Pub., [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 447 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV943.6.H45 P37 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



After twenty years of living in Italy, Tim Parks, whom Joseph Brodsky has called "the best British author writing today," spent a full year following the fortunes--and misfortunes--of the Verona football--oops! soccer--club. Here is his rollicking report.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Parks, a gifted essayist who has examined his status as a British expatriate in Italy and the nature of Italian childhood in previous works, here turns his attention to the Italian national pastime, soccer. Parks spent a year traveling with the Hellas Verona football club, which has recently enjoyed a promotion into the elite Series A division, and the resulting essays manage to touch on every facet of Italian life. Parks takes the reader into an unforgettable world, replete with capricious referees, bloodthirsty fans, devoted Web masters of fan sites, and the players themselves, who are alternately heroic and human. As the season progresses, the club's exhausting schedule yields agonizing results when players are pushed to their physical limits in their quest to prove themselves. Parks' keen attention to detail brings the game to life, alive even to the most casual observer, all the while offering perceptive commentary on Italian culture, politics, and social dynamics. With great wit and insight, Parks has written a highly enjoyable book that will appeal particularly to readers of Joe McGinnis' similar The Miracle of Castel di Sangro (1999). Brendan Dowling.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Parks (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. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Soccer, Italian-style, is an obsession for many. Joe McGinniss documented his passion for the sport in his 1999 book The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. British author Parks (An Italian Education), a 20-year resident of Verona, is equally enthusiastic about the game (known as football outside the United States) but chooses to focus more on the fans than on the actual sport. This unexpectedly personal account describes his demented devotion to the Hellas Verona football club, which he followed around the country for a year, documenting every one of the 34 matches. While detailing his loyalty to the club, Parks also reveals his admiration for Italy, frequently discussing the character of its people, its national and local politics, and the inexplicable violence of soccer fans. Unfortunately, all but the diehard soccer fan will find this book a bit of a slog, somehow more exhausting than exhilarating. Recommended for libraries where there is an interest in soccer. Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.