An Italian Education: The Further Adventures of an Expatriate in Verona

Tim Parks, Author Grove/Atlantic $22 (338p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1508-9
In Italian Neighbors, British-born Parks gave a wry portrait of his adopted Italy, where he lives with his native-born wife Rita in a village outside Verona. This engaging sequel is an affectionate family album focusing on the experience of raising their son, Michele, and daughter, Stefania, combined with general observations on childrearing practices in Italy. Parks believes the typical Italian child is born into a tight social matrix of caution, inhibition and a suffocating awareness of everything that can go wrong. For Italians, ``pregnancy is, inescapably, a pathology,'' and the intense mother-child relationship, suffused with eroticism, often produces young men with ``an extraordinarily inflated, mother-fed opinion of themselves.'' Beyond parenting, Parks serves up pungent cultural commentary. His Italy is a paradox, where an ancient mentality steeped in peasant Catholic traditions coexists with a hedonistic society that eagerly embraces all things modern. Parks's wit, eye for telling incident and sensuous prose make this a captivating family portrait. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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