Tuesday, 25 March 2008

If you only ever read one football book…

...you could do a lot worse than search out a copy of Tim Parks’ A Season With Verona. English-born but living in Italy long-term, novelist Parks followed Hellas Verona home and away throughout their 2000-2001 season, as they battled to stay in Serie A. It’s genuinely gripping (assuming you don’t already have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Italian football), but it also takes in all manner of other subjects, including poetry, literature more generally, racism, politics and, of course, Italy. It’s generally even-handed, and although there are a couple of annoying moments where Parks (a Man Utd fan) seems amazed by the most banal aspects of supporting a largely unsuccessful provincial team, on the whole it’s an entertaining, engaging read. I now find myself strangely drawn to adopt and follow Hellas Verona as they bid to recapture former glories.

4 comments:

John Hague said...

The author being a Manure fans is almost enough to put me off but being the sucker that I am for well written football books I'll give it a go.
On an Italian football note I support Torino. My position on this is that Torino lost all their squad (and most of the Italian team in the Superga air disaster). Manure fans, but mostly money-grabbing sponsors of Merchandise Utd be aware.

Matt Merritt said...

Yeah, it's never mentioned, is it?
I'm going to follow Verona. As they're struggling in Serie C, it shouldn't be too much of a jump from supporting Leicester

Andrew Shields said...

Matt, have you read any of Parks's other work? The nonfiction books on living in Italy (Italian Neighbors and An Italian Education) are great fun.

And his novels are pretty damn good, too. I especially like the last two, "Cleaver" and "The Rapids," but "Destiny" is also very memorable, as are several of the others.

Matt Merritt said...

Hi Andrew. No, I've never read anything by him previously, but I will do now.