Peter Newman on A Season with Verona

Peter Newman talks about ‘A Season with Verona’ by Tim Parks, who goes on the road to follow the fortunes of Hellas Verona football club.” “Addictive reading…each chapter is a short story, the whole book an epic.”

If, like me, you spent an embarrassingly large proportion of the late 90s wishing you too could eat gelati and crack wise with James Richardson on Channel 4, this book will make you nostalgic.

Tim Parks is certainly a man of many parts. University professor, translator, Booker Prize-nominated novelist but, for me, it is his foray into sports writing – as a justification to his wife for going to all away games in one season – that trumps the rest of his achievements.

Of course, the title does rather tell you what is contained within – but within a constricting framework he teaches us about the interaction between Calcio and the Italian soul, the camaraderie, the collective joy, whilst never shying from the hard truths of the casual attitudes towards race and violence captured on the Curva Sud.

Peter Newman is a freelance writer and teacher.

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