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Google Books lets you take a look. Parks incorporated the material in this column into the book. Chris Rose Spike says it is consistently provocative, intelligent and funny. Chris Maume The Independent says Parks tackles the Italian dichotomies between peity and profanity, right and left, fat-cat north and yokel south.

Martin Matusiak, clearly a soccer fan, recommends it only for fans of Serie A. Jesse Berrett says it gives you a truly deep sense of how Italianness intertwines with soccer culture , particularly the regional rivalries and endless fatalism of the people. Inge lauds its insight into the intricacies of Italian football and its place in the Italian psyche.

Hellas Verona 1-1 Bologna - Stunning Free Kick Earns a Draw for 10-Man Verona - Serie A

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United Kingdom Uruguay Venezuela. Results Per Page 10 20 30 40 Boolean Search On. What is Boolean Search? Find Book Refresh this form. Product Type Books. Apr 13, Tim rated it really liked it. The opening chapter is possibly the best, most erudite text you'll read on any sport ever. It's worth the admission price alone. The chapter, almost the whole book, is like an anthropologist's journey into the world of an unknown tribe: the brigate, the Hellas Verona ultras.

But more than that it's a gripping tale of one provincial team's season in Serie A. The final outcome is desperately important only to this small group of people, but in travelling with them we learn why this team, this seas The opening chapter is possibly the best, most erudite text you'll read on any sport ever. The final outcome is desperately important only to this small group of people, but in travelling with them we learn why this team, this season, this game is so much more important than anything else in the world, to them, right here, right now.

It's the human connection - to history, to the community, to each other. The whole footballing myth is blown apart during the course of the novel - the players are exposed as mercenaries, bought and sold for a profit by an owner who seemingly cares nothing for the team. But in spite all of this, and knowing this, the fans care, we care, and ultimately that is the beautiful insanity that is football. Jun 10, Paul Haspel rated it really liked it Shelves: italy , verona.

Parks teaches at university in Milan, but lives in Verona, and follows the Hellas Verona football club; and the travails of being a Hellas Verona fan, as Parks describes them, might sound familiar to Americans who follow one of the smaller-market Major League Baseball teams. Can a small-market team win the championship of Serie A, the highest classification for Italian soccer? Yes, theoretically: Hellas Verona won the championship back in , just as small-market baseball teams like the Kansas City Royals or Minnesota Twins have won a World Series title from time to time.


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Yet from year to year, the same major-market clubs across Italy — Roma and Lazio in the capital region, the two Milan clubs A. Milan and Inter Milan , Juventus from Turin — always seem to win; and the fans of small-market teams like Hellas almost seem to savour the unfairness of it all. Parks, while not Veronese himself, is fully invested in the on-the-pitch fortunes of Hellas Verona, as is his Italian-born son. This commitment will involve road trips up and down the entire peninsula of Italy — sometimes in a filthy bus full of noisy fans; sometimes in a chartered plane with the players, as an official guest of the team.

Certain themes emerge as Parks follows the team through a series of often-frustrating matches. One is the divide between northern and southern Italy. Yet Hellas Verona fans, as Parks describes them, have a reputation for racist behaviour; in contrast with other Italian teams, the club had never, as of the season that Parks chronicles, fielded a black player.

A Season with Verona: Travels Around Italy in Search of Illusion, National Characters

You can become intensely engaged in the outcome of a play or opera; I still remember my adolescent horror when I realized that Cordelia was truly dead. Yet it is not like worrying about the result of a game…. Yes, I could actually leave this stadium, it occurs to me, feeling more appalled about Verona being beaten than by watching the representation of a young woman cut down in the prime of life. Or indeed any other narrative awfulness. Forget Silence of the Lambs , watch Hellas lose.

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European fans already know this concept well; others might benefit from a refresher. Once relegation becomes a serious prospect for Hellas Verona, its fans become even more energized by their determination that this humiliation must not become the fate of their beloved team. They have no ordinary life. Whenever fans of Hellas Verona, or any other Italian team, travel to a rival stadium to watch an away game, their arrival in town is treated like a barbarian invasion: police escorts, segregated cars in trains, strictly limited areas where they can sit together in stadiums.

There is always the sense that all this football fandom could break out into real, brutal, large-scale civic violence. At the same time, Parks takes advantage of the opportunity to relate the wild and unpredictable qualities of Italian football to what he has observed regarding Italian society generally. Everyone wants their team to win at all costs and everyone earnestly wishes the world to be fair. Guided by the police into the fenced-in yard of an abandoned warehouse, the Hellas fans are told that they will have to wait there for hours — in an area smelling of raw sewage — until it is time for the game to begin.

Does Hellas Verona get moved down to Serie B? But A Season with Verona succeeds both as an exciting, outcome-by-outcome book of sports drama, and as a thoughtful ethnographic study of fan culture. Parks may not have achieved his schoolboy dreams of becoming a star footballer for a top-tier English club like Manchester United; but he excels as a perceptive and evocative writer, and he certainly hits all of his goals here.

This book starts off brilliantly with the tale of a boozy, drug-fuelled organised coach journey for Verona fans to a far-flung away match. The chapter blew me away and I thought I was in for a real treat as I continued through the book. Unfortunately though that chapter was the book's highlight and the other chapters couldn't compare with some proving to be a lot poorer. For example chapters where the author went on a tangent and talked about something completely unrelated to football but tried This book starts off brilliantly with the tale of a boozy, drug-fuelled organised coach journey for Verona fans to a far-flung away match.

For example chapters where the author went on a tangent and talked about something completely unrelated to football but tried to tie it in somehow. A case in point was when instead of analysing a particularly heavy defeat for Verona at the hands of Roma the author instead of talking about the football dissected an antiquated Italian poem which I thought made for particularly heavy reading.

These instances made chapters resemble academic essays which wasn't the light football-related reading I was expecting. Other gripes include that the coverage of a Verona cup exit during the season only gets a one-line mention as he couldn't bring himself to write about it similar to the Roma game which was neglected and replaced as mentioned above and that his views are totally biased towards Verona. For example when the Veronese fans get picked on by the police or rival hooligans then he is up in arms against those that have committed these violent deeds.

Yet when differing factions in the Verona crowd come against each other he glosses over it very quickly. Also Italian phrases are used regularly through the book so try and stick them into your memory bank when you first come across them as they are likely to be repeated later on. Failing that keep your Italian phrasebook handy. But other things are good.

Dubray Books. A Season with Verona

The author went to the efforts of contacting the club to let them know about the book before it was written and they granted him access to the team on various occasions through the season including where he accompanied them to an away trip. Unfortunately I feel this magnificent opportunity was not utilised fully and little insight seemed to be gained from these meetings although Verona fans may find things like the club's income and expenditure figures and brief biographies of some of their playing squad of interest.

Overall though Tim Parks is obviously an accomplished writer and the book is jam-packed with material on all sorts about Italian football, Italy and their culture. However if he'd left out all the other unnecessary asides from the book and focused more on the actual football and the passion of his fellow fans like he did in the first chapter then I feel he would have made an okay book into an all-time classic. View all 3 comments. I had read Tim Parks' other books, Italian Education and Italian Neighbours, so I was already familiar with his writing style, which I find is quite easy to read.

The book follows a season - home and away - with his adopted local club, Hellas Verona. Each chapter more or less gives an account of one game some have more than one, but they are the exception. If the team is away, there is usually an account of the journey, whether by coach or train with the gialloblu brigate, or occasionally with I had read Tim Parks' other books, Italian Education and Italian Neighbours, so I was already familiar with his writing style, which I find is quite easy to read. If the team is away, there is usually an account of the journey, whether by coach or train with the gialloblu brigate, or occasionally with the team itself.

Each chapter also ties in with an interesting vignette of Italian culture, whether directly football related or not everything in the book is kind of football related. Hellas Verona soon finds itself at the wrong end of the Serie A league, which I did find led to the injection of more pace in the book than in Tim Parks' other books, that recount his family's experiences in adjusting to relocating to Italy.

As a football fan who also used to follow a team home and away in my case Arsenal , I could really relate to the author's experiences. The cultural insights that are specific to Italian football such as what I think is now 'la partita fella pace', but then was 'la partita fella fede enhanced my appreciation for the peculiarities of Italian football, similar to the content 'Calcio: A History of Italian Football' but in a more enjoyable manner.

For anyone who's interested in Italian culture and football, I would say that this is a must read.


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I gave it 4 stars rather than 5, because there was one chapter I objected to. It is quite early on in the book, and tries to compare football support to historical ideas of Italian heroism and character as outlined in various poetic passages. I got quite bogged down here, as I find reading poetry far more taxing than prose, and eventually skipped over it.

It was quite easy early on in the chapter to see the point the author was making, so I kind of resented having to trudge through. That chapter aside though, I was quite happy to rattle through the rest of the book. Jun 15, Donald rated it liked it. You meet the players, coaches, owners, and fans, and get to know more than soccer; you learn about the place that the game holds in modern Italian society.

I say "modern," but the game truly has a historical reference. Parks writes that "there I had high expectations for this book, having thoroughly enjoyed Parks' Italian memoirs, Italian Neighbors, and An Italian Education. Parks writes that "there is nothing that can happen in Italian football that will not be seen in terms of an ancient quarrel" as the fans taunt other fans with slogans that insult their historical struggles.

Initially, I didn't care for it, and thought I would never make it through the pages. The brigate rabid fans of Verona are a motley bunch of hooligans -- with tendencies toward racism and violence that really put me off. I paid little attention to the players or their histories early in the book, and realized my mistake later when I had failed to identify with them, but then suddenly found myself rooting for them. This transition happened for me when Parks gets to accompany the team on an away trip, telling us all of the behind the scenes details that he learns about players and their relationships with one another and the coaches.

Soon I found myself disappointed at the team's losses, cheering the team's wins, examining the point standings at the start of each chapter, and laughing at some of the more tepid chants of the fans. I'm not sure I became a fan of the fans, but I started to see them as whole people, not just hooligans. In the end, I'm not converted to becoming a football fan, but I will now understand it when I see the images on TV of the crazy stadium scenes in Italy. Sep 22, Benjy rated it it was amazing.