Volume 91, Issue 85
Wednesday, March 11, 1998
home and dry
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
BOOK REVIEW: Lost and remembered
Entering the thoughts and obsessions of another person is an intriguing and impossible idea or is it? In his new, Booker prize nominated novel, Tim Parks achieves just this.
Europa is an exploration of a middle-aged, somewhat twisted professor named Jerry and his ended affair with a mistress whose name is too painful for him to even think of. Jerry and his colleagues are on a trip to save their jobs, but Jerry has gone to be with "her."
The reader is only ever privy to the private dialogue Jerry carries on in his mind during this journey. We see the world only as Jerry does, so most of the details are left out, but his varying (and raging) emotions are obvious. Jerry's passion is overwhelming and intriguing. Both love and hate consume him whenever thoughts of her enter his mind.
The straying and disjointed way in which the novel is written further makes it seem that these are thoughts and not carefully constructed prose. Sometimes ideas are never completed and often thoughts and stories are continued pages and chapters later. The story unravels this way, bit by bit, for Jerry is not telling a story, but remembering his past and his many regrets.
Parks has produced an intriguing and disturbing story, one in which the reader can probably find pieces of themselves whether they want to or not. Jerry is both a despicable and sympathetic character who is not easily forgotten.
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