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?
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? DESTINY is a satisfying story and a profound meditation on marriage and identity. Tim Parks gives us a frightening experience of what it means to tread the narrow line between sanity and psychosis.
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.
"This brilliant work fizzes with bleak humour and a crackpot energy... a powerfully affecting novel of married life and cultural incompatability... Parks is an exceptionally acute observer of modern life" Daily Telegraph "Tim Parks masterly new novel is... intellectually sophisticated, formally ambitious, and belongs to a cosmopolitan European tradition. But it is one that pays honour to the heart as well as to the mind" Sunday Times "Complex but captivating and exactly observed... A book to digest slowly and savour" The Times "A wilful, hypnotic novel... Destiny gleams with insights into the trade-off between the personal and the political... a stylish, ambitious novel of a life in freefall" Time Out "He can write, at will, like a modern Henry James, proceeding with composure through the labyrinth... Indeed, this is a novel that seems to exist on the brink, on the edge of insanity" Literary Review
Imagine the worst anxiety dream you've ever had and raise it to the power ten, and you might get some idea of the relentless, claustrophobic experience of reading Tim Parks's novel. The characteristically mannered and disjunctive sentences introduce the reader both to the narrator of Destiny, the expatriate British expert on Italian affairs Christopher Burton, and to the precipitating event of this journey into his personal heart of darkness. But he is not alone. Everyone is very, very unhappy. Technically, this is a brilliant self-portrait of a charmless, self-aggrandizing obsessive going through a nightmare mid-life crisis. Parks seems to take an almost sadistic pleasure in tormenting his characters, and even the hint of deliverance at the very end is heavily qualified. Not for the faint-hearted. Review by Michael Dibdin, whose latest books include 'Blood Rain'. (Kirkus UK)