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W. W. Norton & Company
<p><strong>The best-selling author of <em>Italian Neighbors</em> returns with a wry and revealing portrait of Italian life—by riding its trains.</strong></p>Tim Parks’s books on Italy have been hailed as "so vivid, so packed with delectable details, [they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing" (<em>Los Angeles Times Book Review</em>). Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy. <p>Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn’t it?" But soon he turns his novelist’s eye to the details, and as he journeys through majestic Milano Centrale station or on the newest high-speed rail line, he delivers a uniquely insightful portrait of Italy. Through memorable encounters with ordinary Italians—conductors and ticket collectors, priests and prostitutes, scholars and lovers, gypsies and immigrants—Parks captures what makes Italian life distinctive: an obsession with speed but an acceptance of slower, older ways; a blind eye toward brutal architecture amid grand monuments; and an undying love of a good argument and the perfect cappuccino.</p> <p><em>Italian Ways</em> also explores how trains helped build Italy and how their development reflects Italians’ sense of themselves from Garibaldi to Mussolini to Berlusconi and beyond. Most of all, <em>Italian Ways</em> is an entertaining attempt to capture the essence of modern Italy. As Parks writes, "To see the country by train is to consider the crux of the essential Italian dilemma: Is Italy part of the modern world, or not?"</p> 6 illustrations