Dangerous Faults

Frank Kermode

  • Shear by Tim Parks
    Heinemann, 214 pp, £13.99, August 1993, ISBN 0 434 57745 6

This is Tim Parks’s sixth novel. He has also done some serious translation – Moravia, Calvino, Calasso’s The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony – and written a lively book about his life in Italy. And now, by way of explaining the highly technical lexicon of Shear, he tells us in an Author’s Note that he did ‘years of work for the Italian quarrying industry’: consequently ‘a huge burden of geological/mechanical vocabulary ... was bound to shape the terrain of some novel or other.’ This is, quite properly, not an apology; he has won the right to shape his own terrains. As he is still (at a guess) under forty he can’t be said to have lost much time in doing so. He has won several prizes and on his jackets great names affirm that he is not only prolific but very good indeed.

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