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Books > Reference > Writing, Research & Publishing Guides > Writing > Travel > 0393239322
  1. Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo
    Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo
    Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo
    Image(s) provided for illustrative purposes and may differ from the actual product
  2. Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (105 reviews)
    Price R501.00

Additional Information

The best-selling author of Italian Neighbors returns with a wry and revealing portrait of Italian life―by riding its trains.

Tim Parks’s books on Italy have been hailed as "so vivid, so packed with delectable details, [they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.

Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn’t it?" But soon he turns his novelist’s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians―conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants―Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.

Italian Ways also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians’ sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, Italian Ways is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"

6 illustrations

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Tim Parks
Brand: W. W. Norton Company
Used Book in Good Condition
W. W. Norton & Company
W. W. Norton & Company
6 illustrations
6 illustrations
W. W. Norton & Company
W. W. Norton & Company
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Tim Parks does a fun job of getting us all around Italy. It is a shame he is such a sourpuss. One would love for him to take delight in what is around him, but he mostly finds fault with the Italian Rail system. Well, not even exactly the Italian rail system---more egregiously, with Italians, which has a way of seeming a bit racist, or at least elitist. He makes little effort to understand the emotional life of the people around him. A dry sort, at times you wish he had co-written this book with someone with blood in their veins who was actually happy to be alive.
I gave this book four stars instead of three, which is what it really deserves, because in spite of the bitter old man routine, Italian Ways is very well written and somehow, a page turner. What also aided my read was I had just returned from Positano (one of the most wonderful towns on earth...for pleasure) and Ariano Irpino (In Campania, where I met eight Italian cousins...for the first time). I had wanted to read... Read more
As a second-generation Italian-American, when I first visited the former homeland of my immigrant grandparents' in ciociaria, I felt a stir, like I had come home. That is the same feeling I had reading Tim Parks' Italian Ways. The book was recommended by "The Smiling Eggplant." It did not disappoint.

I could identify with so many of Parks' observations on the Italian psyche - and his experiences with the ticket vending and validation machines. At times, I laughed out loud. I couldn't help myself. When I tried to read some passages aloud to my son, I would start laughing so hard the words I tried to repeat became unintelligible.

This is not a book about trains, although there is a great deal of interesting and, perhaps, useful information about Italian railway nuances included. It is a book about many universal themes, including variations on the sense of smell. That, of course, is what makes it art. It is by no means an anti-Italian or mean-spirited book in any... Read more
The title is brilliant as it conveys two aspects of the book written by Tim Parks. It tells us how the Italian railways run by Trenitalia operates and also how the Italian psyche can be seen from this angle. Hence the name chosen for the novel has duality associated with it. Tim Parks has lived in Italy for a great part of his life. He was not born an Italian but he is Italian now after adopted the country as his home. Given his writing style, he is the right person to educate us about the Italian ways.

If you live in Europe, public transport plays an important part in your daily life. In the category of public transports, the trains are a major player - be it traveling inside the city or to adjoining cities or even to far flung places. Tim Parks details this important utility in life from the point of view of a frequent traveler. He has spent a considerable amount of his life in trains. But how does this all work? Is anyone making profit out of this enterprise? How are the... Read more
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