Tucked in and under

Jenny Turner

  • Destiny by Tim Parks
    Secker, 249 pp, £15.99, September 1999, ISBN 0 436 22088 1

‘Can this beautiful young model be thinking?’ Tim Parks asks at one point in this book. ‘One hopes not,’ the argument continues, as Parks’s narrator looks through an airline magazine, ‘You do not think, I thought, seeing pictures of people pleasure-making on the beach, perhaps in an advertisement for rum or Martini ... that for all the beauty of their surroundings and indeed themselves these fortunate people are nevertheless obliged to think, obliged to be conscious.’ Once said, it’s so obvious, isn’t it: people like to look at pictures of models because they imagine the models’ heads to be empty, which allows them to empty their own heads as they gaze. Some go for pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow. Some prefer that ad on the television with all the joyously bounding dogs.

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