Fiction Tim Parks Destiny

ISBN 13: 9780099284949

Destiny

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9780099284949: Destiny

Three months after returning to England, Christopher Burton, receives a phone-call at the reception desk of the Rembrandt Hotel, Knightsbridge that informs him of his son's suicide. But why on receiving this terrible news, does Burton immediately decide that he must leave his Italian wife of thirty years standing? Why does he find it so difficult to focus on his grief for his son? Intensely dramatic, dark and, against all odds, hilariously funny, Destiny is a satisfying story and a profound meditation on marriage and identity. Parks gives us a frightening experience of what it means to tread the narrow line between sanity and psychosis.

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Review:

The protagonist of Tim Parks's Destiny is a disillusioned, fiftysomething journalist intent on writing a book about Italy's national character. It's not merely intellectual curiosity that has led Christopher Burton to this project: as an expatriate Englishman, he's also desperate to figure out the inhabitants of his adopted country, and more specifically, his Italian wife. "You cannot marry a woman in one language and think in another," he muses, convinced that what he once found vehement and exciting about her has been revealed as shallow and distasteful. Mistaken for a German in Italy and an American in England, the narrator beautifully articulates the dilemma of living amid a confusion of tongues. "Language is national destiny," he concludes, which would seem to be bad news for his marriage.

Meanwhile, Burton and his wife are confronted with another, nonlinguistic catastrophe. During a three-month stay in England, the journalist learns that his only son has committed suicide in Italy. His first emotion is not grief but a kind of relief--after all, it was mainly Marco's schizophrenia that kept the couple together. As they travel back home, however, his flamboyant wife begins to unravel, and punishes him by lapsing into a "miserable and uncooperative mutism."

Destiny is an astute study of the inappropriate behavior that accompanies grief, as well as a blistering look at a marriage of equals--at love's endless loss and retrieval. The fractured, claustrophobic narration perfectly suits Burton's mood, as he lurches from ugly confusion to sublime lucidity, even (or especially) in the presence of his son's corpse. "Marco is less remarkable in death than in life," he notes, and then continues:

To my immense relief he was dressed. The corpse was dressed. My wife wasn't there. Dark trousers, blue sweater.... There were two or three heavy pieces of dark wooden furniture and a Sacred Heart on the near wall. A public space that apes the private, I thought, or the imagined private of a distant past. That saves you taking your late beloved home to lie under halogen light by the television.
It all adds up to an intelligent, enthralling performance. And Parks, who has previously taken on the question of Anglo-Italian manners in Italian Neighbors and Europa, accomplishes his most wicked exploration yet of identity and our truly, madly, deeply conflicted motivations. --Cherry Smyth

About the Author:

Born in Manchester, Tim Parks grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. In 1981 he moved to Italy where he has lived ever since. He is the author of novels, non-fiction and essays, including Europa, Cleaver, A Season with Verona and Teach Us to Sit Still. He has won the Somerset Maugham, Betty Trask and Llewellyn Rhys awards, and been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He lectures on literary translation in Milan, writes for publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and his many translations from the Italian include works by Moravia, Calvino, Calasso, Tabucchi and Machiavelli.

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Three months after returning to England, Christopher Burton, receives a phone-call at the reception desk of the Rembrandt Hotel, Knightsbridge that informs him of his son s suicide. But why on receiving this terrible news, does Burton immediately decide that he must leave his Italian wife of thirty years standing? Why does he find it so difficult to focus on his grief for his son? Intensely dramatic, dark and, against all odds, hilariously funny, Destiny is a satisfying story and a profound meditation on marriage and identity. Parks gives us a frightening experience of what it means to tread the narrow line between sanity and psychosis. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099284949

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Three months after returning to England, Christopher Burton, receives a phone-call at the reception desk of the Rembrandt Hotel, Knightsbridge that informs him of his son s suicide. But why on receiving this terrible news, does Burton immediately decide that he must leave his Italian wife of thirty years standing? Why does he find it so difficult to focus on his grief for his son? Intensely dramatic, dark and, against all odds, hilariously funny, Destiny is a satisfying story and a profound meditation on marriage and identity. Parks gives us a frightening experience of what it means to tread the narrow line between sanity and psychosis. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099284949

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. An Englishman, married to an Italian, is informed of the suicide of his son. He decides to leave his wife of 30 years standing in this exploration of marriage and destiny whilst treading a narrow line between sanity and psychosis. Num Pages: 256 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 199 x 131 x 20. Weight in Grams: 192. . 2000. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099284949

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Destiny, Tim Parks, Three months after returning to England, Christopher Burton, receives a phone-call at the reception desk of the Rembrandt Hotel, Knightsbridge that informs him of his son's suicide. But why on receiving this terrible news, does Burton immediately decide that he must leave his Italian wife of thirty years standing? Why does he find it so difficult to focus on his grief for his son? Intensely dramatic, dark and, against all odds, hilariously funny, Destiny is a satisfying story and a profound meditation on marriage and identity. Parks gives us a frightening experience of what it means to tread the narrow line between sanity and psychosis. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099284949

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