In Extremis must be one of the most implacable, but also one of the funniest, novels about death and family that have ever been written.
Thomas knows there is something he needs to say to his mother. But will he reach her in time? And will he have the courage to say now what he couldn’t say before? To what end disturb a woman in agony? Meantime his phone is buzzing, his mind racing and he can’t concentrate on the significance of what is happening. Should he try to solve his friend’s family crisis? Should he reconsider his separation from his wife? Why has Mother’s passing left him so utterly confused and paralysed?
In his most exhilarating book to date, Tim Parks explores how profoundly our present identity is rooted in our family past. Can anything can be done? Will Thomas ever be free to choose the woman he loves? These are pages where the drama of selfhood and the yearning for change are put under the microscope as never before.
In Extremis is simply spellbinding and quite unique in my reading experience; very funny and very existential, compact and chatty, complicated and raw. Every scene has a poignancy, everything is powerfully visual. The rich language flows in an unbroken rhythm, seamlessly connecting one moving episode after another. Parks has written a masterpiece!
What a book! This is what a novel should be – gusty, 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.
A brilliant study, both psychological and physiological, of a male human being in late middle age: darkly funny, searingly honest, unputdownable.
A thrillingly unsentimental—thrilling because unsentimental—meditation on every aspect and orifice of the human body.
Head and shoulders above so many of the books turned out by similar writers of [Tim Parks’] age and stage. This is a wonderfully written novel.
Kirsty Gunn, Guardian
Blazingly funny, full of squirmy physical comedy.
Anthony Cummins, Observer
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.
Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
Extremely good, extremely funny and extremely dark – but also extremely frank in the way it deals with come extremely difficult, not to say delicate, subject matter.
Katie Law, Evening Standard
Tim Parks is a hugely talented writer, who deserves to be a good deal more celebrated than he is… thematically taut and compulsively paced.
Edmund Gordon, Sunday Times
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.
Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday
Parks’ prose is laconic and skillful: the past interweaves with the present in the narrator’s mind in a supple dramatisation of consciousness.
Luke Brown, Financial Times
Intelligent, comic, sad and at times disturbing… Good fiction makes you think and feel at the same time. This novel does that very well, at times comically, at times distressingly.
Allan Massie, Scotsman
Delightfully acute on the incidentals of modern life.
Adrian Turpin, Literary Review
This honest, perceptive novel explores death and how profoundly our identity is rooted in family.
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
A tense, believable black comedy.
Melissa Katsoulis, The Times