Duncan McKay on A Season with Verona

Duncan McKay talks about ‘A Season with Verona’, Tim Parks’ enthralling travelogue of a year spent following the fortunes of Hellas Verona FC. “It’s about society, culture and ultimately, a sense of belonging.”

Most books I’ll read just the once. There are some so good you return to again. Even rarer are the ones you read a third time. And there’s the one book you return to again and again. For me, that’s A Season with Verona.

Bought on a whim before a school trip to Italy, I was captivated by the opening scenes where the author, just like me, was about to face a long bus journey. Tim Parks was travelling with the notorious butei. Me? I was with the school choir.

This is a book that’s more than following a team around Italy; it’s about society, culture and ultimately, a sense of belonging.

Inevitably, I became a Verona fan. Parks’ writing had me wrapped up in gialloblù’s fortunes. Halfway through came the inevitable and sad realisation that the season and this book would soon be over.

A Season with Verona made me realise that writing about football could be beautiful; and it made me traipse all the way to Verona in 2007 to watch them in action only to discover that the game was being played behind closed doors.

A few days later I returned home, went to the bookshelf and opened up A Season with Verona once more. Captivated, my mind started planning a return visit.

Duncan McKay

*Review your favourite sports book in 150 words or less. Don’t tell us what the book’s about – make it personal, tell us what it was about the book that connected to you. Email it to backpage@backpagepress.co.uk. The best will go on the blog.