- Tim Parks, A literary tour of Italy, Richmond, Alma Books, 2015.
«I arrived in Italy in 1981 with barely a word of Italian. My strategy for learning the language was simple. Each afternoon, between my morning and evening teaching, I spent three or four hours in Verona’s main public library reading novels and writing down every word I didn’t know, every syntactical structure I wasn’t familiar with, then trying out what I had learned in conversations with my long-suffering wife.
Since the task was arduous at first, I began with contemporary writers who used a fairly simple style – Natalia Ginzburg, Alberto Moravia, Carlo Cassola – then began to look at the more difficult writers of the day, Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino and the young Aldo Busi. Later, as my Italian improved, I went backward in time: the war years – Pavese, Fenoglio, Brancati – the early 20th century – Svevo, D’Annunzio, Pirandello – the 19th century with its extraordinary riches, Verga, Manzoni, Nievo, Foscolo and for the first time a poet, Giacomo Leopardi.»
(Tim Parks, A literary tour of Italy, p. VII).