There is no world for whistle-blower in Italian, though you can absolutely chiudere un'occhio (turn a blind eye). In all areas of public life - community, education, employment - your connections are everything.
From the bestselling author of Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education and Italian Ways, Italian Life is a particular reckoning with a beloved adopted country. It takes place in a university in the north. Valeria, a talented young woman from hot, dusty Basilicata, enrols together with thousands of others for a degree course that could take anything between three and ten years to complete, given the vagaries of the system. She has sacrificed a great deal to get here. However, as both Valeria and her rich supporting cast of students and professors will soon discover, there are dark and capricious forces at the institution's heart.
Unfolding into a story of power and corruption, influence and exclusion, Tim Parks' compelling new book shows that an education is about understanding the workings of a society - in this case one where family, culture and innovation are shadowed by nepotism, bureaucracy and intrigue. Thought-provoking, surprising and always entertaining, Italian Life is a behind-the-scenes look at a paradoxical country: a gripping account of how Italy actually happens.
Born in Manchester, Tim Parks grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He lives in Milan.
Parks is the acclaimed author of novels, non-fiction and essays, including Europa, A Season with Verona, Teach Us to Sit Still, Italian Ways and Italian Life. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has won many awards for both his work in English and his translations from the Italian, which include works by Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso, Antonio Tabucchi and Niccolò Machiavelli.
'The best interpreter of Italian ways in Italy' * Sunday Herald * 'Parks is more than just an effortless raconteur: he offers detailed cultural observation, witty yet eagle-eyed, of what makes Italians so Italian' * The Times * 'All Italy is here, its history, its character, its flaws' * Sunday Times * Refreshingly brilliant... Parks skilfully shows how the rules and the maneuverings within Italian university life mirrors those at work in Italian society... illuminating and entertaining. When Parks takes his reader behind the scenes and into a murky world of favouritism and nepotism, back-scratching and back-stabbing, collusion and exclusion, his narrative cracks up a gear and becomes gripping * Herald * A satisfyingly truthful, entertaining and provocative comedy that lays bare Italy's difference, as a nation and as a joyful, warm, ever changeable people, tractable by temperament, immovably stubborn in its traditions -- Julian Evans * Daily Telegraph *