Wednesday, 26 September 2007

A Season with Verona review

I have just finished reading A Season with Verona (Vintage, 2003) by Tim Parks, probably one of the quintessential books about football fans every written. That is apart from Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby (which I haven't read). The basic premise of the book is that Tim Parks, an English author who lives in Verona, and supports Hellas Verona, decides to follow their fortunes to every game, both home and away, in the 2000/01 season. I'm probably not the first to review this book and most definitely not the last, but I have given it a show anyway.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its insight into the culture of Italian at one of the most controversial clubs in Italy. One of things that draws me to watch games every week is the interaction between fans and their team as they cheer, criticise and chastise them. For many it is a chance to escape the humdrum of their lives and lose themselves in the game of football for ninety minutes. For me Parks, has captured the essence of the fans that follow this very proud club. He encounters many fans on his footballing journey through Italy and lets us in on their feelings, thoughts and hopes as well as his own. He doesn’t solely concentrate on the football as he puts the season in the context of what is happening in Verona and especially Italy, who at the time was going through an extended election campaign. This allows the reader to understand the culture in which this story resides.

This book is essential reading for all football fans and fans of the culture behind the game. Many would relate to the fanaticism shown by the fans of Hellas Verona. This book has reignited my passion for Italian football that I used to follow quite closely by watching the one hour highlight show that was used to be on Sunday morning on SBS. I am also keen to read Calcio by John Foot to get a wider understanding of the history of Italian football and its culture. An occasional eye will be now kept on the fortunes of Hellas Verona, who unfortunately are now in Serie C1 and currently in last position after four games.
A must have for all football fans.


Blogger Hamish said...

Thanks for this Neil. So many people have recommended Parks' book, that it's become a must for me to collect and read! I love the genre of fan lit. Get around to Hornby's Fever Pitch by the way - you won't regret it.

More reviews please! I'll always link them from my library page, and list any books mentioned by the blogging crew in the Wants section.

27 September 2007 at 23:04  
Blogger Neil said...

For your library link I have also reviewed Diego Maradona's El Diego in a previous post.

27 September 2007 at 23:27  
Blogger Hamish said...

Thanks Neil. El Diego is certainly a wild and interesting journey. I've linked your review.

28 September 2007 at 06:42  

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