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After 20 years of living in Italy, Tim Parks, whom Joseph Brodsky, has called "the nest British author working today," spent a full year following the fortunes-and misfortunes-of the Verona football-oops! Soccer-club. Here is his rollicking report. From Udine to Catania, from San Siro to the Olimpico, traveling with the fans and the players from the tip to the toe of Italy, Tim Parks offers a highly personal account of his relationship with a country, its people, and its national sport. The fans, as always are accused of vulgarity, racism, and violence. The police are ambiguous, the journeys exhausting, the referees unforgivable, the anecdotes hilarious. In a world stripped of idealism and increasingly bereft of religion, Parks suggests that soccer offers a new and fiercely ironic way of engaging with the sacred.

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