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.
A brilliant study, both psychological and physiological, of a male human being in late middle age: darkly funny, searingly honest, unputdownable.
In Extremis takes on the body, the family, death and sets out to be one of the most implacable, but also hopefully the most hilarious ever written on the subject. Hilarious because implacable, implacable because… etc.
We begin with Thomas hearing of his mother’s imminent death as he attends a conference on chronic pelvic pain syndrome and anal massage in the Dutch town Amersfoort. And from the moment he gets that email his mind goes into overdrive as he finds himself torn between his English past and his Spanish present. There are things he wants to say to his mother, but at the same time doesn’t want to say, there are others who want to say things to him he doesn’t want to hear, there is an ex-wife in the UK who would be glad to have him back, there is a partner in Madrid who is eager to return. But why above all things does the most paralysing dilemma become, should I or should I not view my mother’s embalmed corpse.
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 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