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Tim Parks's greatest book to date: a searing, darkly hilarious and deadly serious novel about family, infidelity and mortality

Thomas needs to speak to his mother before she dies.

But he's set to give a talk to a conference of physiotherapists in the Netherlands; if he leaves now will he get to her deathbed in time?

Will he be able to say what he couldn't say before? He can't concentrate on what is happening now: his mind won't sit still. Should he try to solve his friend's marital crisis? Should he reconsider his separation from his own wife? And why does he need to pee again?

In Extremis is Tim Parks's masterwork: a darkly hilarious and deadly serious novel about infidelity, mortality and the frailties of the human body.

Reviews

Nobody tells this sort of story better than Tim Parks, who has a gift, unrivalled among his contemporaries, for capturing the sheer rapidity with which unconnected trains of thought hurtle round and round in the human brain. The novel is a tour de force of high-voltage storytelling

Mail on Sunday

The best novel I read this year was Tim Parks’s In Extremis, a frantic and minutely observed comedy of family, marriage, life and death. There is something in the synaptic twitch of Parks’s prose that brings us closer to the pressures and rhythms of a lived life than the work of any other contemporary writer I can think of

New Statesman

Blazingly funny, full of squirmy physical comedy and weaselly shilly-shallying

Anthony Cummins, Observer

Head and shoulders above so many of the books turned out by similar writers... Parks, by being funny, explodes all that. This is a wonderfully written novel that draws us close to Thomas in spite of who he is, not, as a lesser author would have had it, because of how he’s been carefully curated to be.

Kirsty Gunn, Guardian

Tim Parks is a hugely talented writer, who deserves to be a good deal more celebrated than he is… thematically taut and compulsively paced.

Sunday Times

A tense, believable black comedy

Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

Tim Parks’s brilliant new comedy is an invigorating twist on the male mid-life crisis novel… A very funny, very clever novel that shows with tremendous verve how life is so often a beleaguering collision between the absurd and the profound.

Daily Mail

In Extremis is a novel about death and family and religious faith, about fidelity and infidelity… It is intelligent, comic, sad and at times disturbing… Parks has a remarkable talent for presenting the waywardness of thought… Good fiction makes you think and feel at the same time. This novel does that very well, at times comically, at times distressingly.

Scotsman

Beyond the fierce and questioning intelligence are both humour and artfully constructed and invariably gripping plots

Independent on Sunday

This is what a novel should be - gutsy, moving, funny, tragic, true – and with a syntax to die for. Tim Parks is in a league of his own. He makes every other English author of his generation look lame. In Extremis, in exacting detail, depicts the naked truth of marriage and aging, sex and death, family. Brilliant, brutal and all too quick – like life.

Henry Sutton

A master of emotional complexity

Sunday Telegraph

In Extremis is simply spellbinding and quite unique in my reading experience; very funny and very existential, compact and chatty, complicated and raw. Parks has written a masterpiece.

Per Wästberg

A thrillingly unsentimental—thrilling because unsentimental—meditation on every aspect and orifice of the human body.

David Shields

Parks writes with wit and intelligence

The Times

A writer of considerable intelligence and great technical skill...tremendously readable

Guardian

An exceptionally acute observer of modern life

Daily Telegraph

In Extremis is by turns funny, poignant and thought-provoking. Structured with subtle intricacy, superbly controlled, and emotionally intelligent, this is a book to love

UK Press Syndication

The Parks remains one of Britain’s most seriously under-celebrated novelists… In Extremis is often hilarious… The humour, clever asides, effortless plotting, astute characterisation, sense of everyday chaos and compelling readability will come as no surprise to his seasoned readers, yet the telling achievement of what is his finest book to date lies in its unexpected tenderness and beauty… Intuitive and humane, funny and sad – as real as life and death, as is Thomas Sanders, warts and all. This likely Man Booker contender is a British novel possessed of a sophisticated European resonance

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

The dreamlike quality of the stories in Men Without Women is undoubtedly one of its chief attractions… Murakami’s womenless men live in perpetual daydreams, a state of mind often prompted by a loss of some kind… Murakami’s latest is a hypnotising study of male loneliness

Paddy Kehoe, Independent

Potent storytelling and a generous cast of minor yet memorable characters… make for a helter-skelter read that’s clever, comic and pulsing with humanity

Mail on Sunday

A frantic and minutely observed comedy of family, marriage, life and death. There is something in the synaptic twitch of Parks’s prose that brings us closer to the pressures and rhythms of a lived life than the work of any other contemporary writer I can think of

Mike McCormack, New Statesman

Thematically taut and compulsively paced.

Edmund Gordon, Sunday Times

A very good novel of anxiety, embarrassment and also, somehow, the depths of Englishness.

Evening Standard

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Formats & editions

  • In Extremis
    Tim Parks

    Paperback

    9781784705978

    April 2, 2018

    Vintage

    352 pages

    RRP $19.99

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