Reviews of ‘Rapids’

Current affairs in a river of life

The Independent, 04 March 2005

By Tim Lott

The river as a metaphor for life is hardly an original one. With its still surface and threatening undertows, its fluidity and evanescence, its rapids and hazards, no analogy has ever possessed such utility for expressing the process and the mystery of being. It takes a truly outstanding writer to take such a well-worn device and make it fresh and urgent. Fortunately, Tim Parks is such a writer, and Rapids is a thrilling white-water ride, not only through the landscape of the Italian Alps, but also through the quirks and eddies of the human heart.

Parks starts with a simple, but promising premise. Six adults and nine adolescents come together on a white-water “community experience”, on a swelling, glacier-fed river. Some are intimates, some are strangers, some acquaintances.

The group leaders, Clive and Michaela, are political idealists and estranged lovers, and the emotional tensions that pervade their relationship seep down into the group and transform an innocent pleasure trip into something darker, and eventually, chilling.

The other central player among the well-drawn cast of characters is Vince, a middle-aged banker whose wife – an accomplished kayaker herself – has died. He comes with his teenage daughter, Louise, whom he feels pulling away from him in the wake of their bereavement. Vince’s carefully ordered and responsible life suddenly feels fragile and empty. Somehow he hopes the white-water trip may bring some coherence. More than any other character, he is seeking re-invention, and a conquering of his own fears. But the resolution of this quest comes in a way he can never have anticipated.

Parks sets himself a difficult task. Handling 15 characters within such an enclosed sphere is a challenge; making that large cast both convincing and engrossing is highly tricky. Also, translating such a visual and visceral experience as white-water kayaking into language is a hurdle, and sometimes I felt that to bring knowledge of water terminology – “white holes”, lines, pour-overs and suchlike – to the book would be a real advantage.

But, on the whole, Parks overcomes these difficulties deftly and skilfully. Even when you can’t quite work out what’s going on, or who’s who, a sense of excitement at the action charges the text, and you are pulled remorselessly into the heart of the narrative.

This being Tim Parks, Rapids is far, far more than an adventure novel, but also a brilliant unfolding of personalities, secret intentions, thwarted ambitions and petty vanities. The teenagers are indulging in other rites of passage than simply risk-taking on the river, as they cast about for sexual adventure.

Clive’s idealism is challenged by the cynical Adam. Michaela is desperately trying to keep her faith in Clive, and she starts to seek conquests in retribution. Most of the adults, one way or another, are adrift, while the teenagers are somehow more resilient, or oblivious to the powerful forces tugging at their lives.

Rapids manages to be not only a social and psychological but a political novel. Parks even-handedly examines the gap between action and ideology, as the waters swell around them as a result of the global warming that is melting the glacier. Disaster threatens the kayakers, and the globe: they, and we, deny the truth about ourselves and the world at our peril.

Rapids would not be out of place on the Whitbread and the Booker shortlists. Immensely readable and deeply intelligent, it confirms Tim Parks as one of our foremost authors, one whose depth of talent continues to refresh and shock and, finally, like the water itself, scour and purify.

144 thoughts on “Reviews of ‘Rapids’

  1. Fredric Savel

    [url=]I ordered Valium online[/url] biadlihoohymbogma [url=]Buy Generic Valium Online[/url]

  2. fonepaw screenmo

    Hi there this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  3. hack defender 3

    wonderful post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  4. mcent hack

    I’m no longer sure where you are getting your info, however great topic. I needs to spend some time studying more or working out more. Thank you for fantastic info I was searching for this info for my mission.

  5. minecraft

    Its like you learn my mind! You seem to grasp so much about this, such as you wrote the e book
    in it or something. I feel that you just could do with a few p.c.
    to power the message home a little bit, but instead of that, that is wonderful
    blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  6. top digital marketing trends

    Thank you for every other great article. Where else could anyone get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such info.

  7. minecraft

    Howdy! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m
    having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

  8. minecraft

    Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would
    really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Thanks a lot


    My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find many of
    your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write about here.
    Again, awesome website!

  10. minecraft

    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do
    it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would
    like to know where u got this from. appreciate it


    With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of unique content I’ve
    either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my
    permission. Do you know any techniques to help protect against content from being ripped off?
    I’d truly appreciate it.

  12. minecraft

    I am really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any browser
    compatibility problems? A number of my blog audience have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer
    but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any advice to help fix this problem?

  13. Delaine

    review i find it hard to obtain beneficial info out there when it comes to this blog posts appreciate for the blog post

  14. minecraft

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you may be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and will often come back at
    some point. I want to encourage one to continue your great writing, have a nice

  15. minecraft

    hello!,I like your writing very much! share we be in contact
    more approximately your post on AOL? I require a specialist
    in this house to resolve my problem. May be that is you!
    Taking a look ahead to peer you.

  16. gamefly

    Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem
    to get there! Appreciate it

  17. gamefly

    Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is amazing, nice written and
    come with almost all vital infos. I’d like to look extra posts like this .

  18. gamefly

    I really like what you guys tend to be up too. This type of
    clever work and coverage! Keep up the great works guys I’ve included you
    guys to blogroll.

  19. gamefly free trial

    I do not even know how I finished up right here, however I assumed this submit used to be
    great. I do not understand who you might be but definitely you’re
    going to a well-known blogger if you aren’t already.

  20. gamefly free trial

    You really make it appear really easy together with your
    presentation but I find this topic to be actually one thing that I
    believe I might never understand. It seems too complicated
    and extremely vast for me. I am having a look forward in your next submit, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!

  21. minecraft download

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site,
    how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal.

    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  22. g

    Superb, what a web site it is! This web site provides useful
    facts to us, keep it up.

  23. g

    Hi, i think that i noticed you visited my weblog thus i got
    here to go back the favor?.I am trying to find things
    to enhance my website!I suppose its good enough to
    use some of your ideas!!

  24. Arlinda Lardydell

    Hi there dudes! Now i’m thinking if an individual may possibly aid me personally available! Definitely I must understand this exact online site on my brand spanking new iphone, but it surely doesn’t recent upward adequately, I really is wanting to know if an individual can propose to your lady myself every best possible option? I would not know but really must i work tirelessly and discover an modernize regarding a computer software procedure or something else? I recognize this is certainly a thing kinda there are various theme, yet satisfy redesign everybody not to mention thanks earlier for any enable! Sophie

  25. minecraft download mojang

    What i don’t realize is in fact how you’re not actually much more well-appreciated than you might be now.
    You are very intelligent. You recognize thus considerably in the case of this subject, produced me for
    my part believe it from numerous varied angles.
    Its like women and men aren’t involved until it’s something to accomplish with Woman gaga!
    Your own stuffs outstanding. At all times care for it up!

  26. g

    whoah this weblog is excellent i really like studying your
    articles. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of individuals are searching round for this
    info, you could help them greatly.

  27. g

    What i don’t understood is in reality how you’re now not really a lot more well-favored than you may be now.

    You’re so intelligent. You realize therefore significantly in the case of this subject,
    produced me personally believe it from numerous various angles.
    Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved until it’s one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga!

    Your personal stuffs nice. Always deal with it up!

  28. free minecraft download

    Hello there I am so delighted I found your website, I
    really found you by error, while I was browsing on Bing
    for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say
    many thanks for a fantastic post and a all round thrilling
    blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at
    the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your
    RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep
    up the fantastic job.

  29. geometry dash

    One more issue is that video games are normally serious in nature with the key focus on understanding rather than leisure. Although, it has an entertainment element to keep your sons or daughters engaged, every game will likely be designed to work with a specific set of skills or course, such as instructional math or science. Thanks for your write-up.

  30. download minecraft pc

    After going over a few of the blog articles on your site, I
    honestly like your way of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will
    be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website too and let me know how you feel.

  31. download minecraft free

    Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I’ve truly loved browsing
    your weblog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing for your feed and I hope you write once more soon!

  32. restaurant dash gordon ramsay

    A different issue is really that video gaming became one of the all-time most significant forms of fun for people of every age group. Kids participate in video games, and also adults do, too. The actual XBox 360 is one of the favorite games systems for individuals that love to have hundreds of activities available to them, and also who like to play live with other people all over the world. Many thanks for sharing your thinking.

  33. gamefly free trial

    Fantastic blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a
    paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally confused ..
    Any ideas? Kudos!

  34. how to get help in windows 10

    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.

    Do you have any points for beginner blog writers? I’d
    really appreciate it.

  35. gamefly free trial

    We absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly what
    I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you?
    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects
    you write about here. Again, awesome web log!

  36. gamefly free trial

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and
    I to find It truly useful & it helped me out much.
    I am hoping to give one thing again and aid others such as you helped me.

  37. gamefly free trial

    May I simply just say what a relief to uncover
    an individual who really understands what they are talking about on the web.
    You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people need to check this out and understand this
    side of your story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular
    given that you certainly possess the gift.

  38. gamefly free trial

    It’s genuinely very difficult in this full of activity life to listen news
    on TV, thus I simply use world wide web for that purpose,
    and obtain the latest news.

  39. gamefly free trial

    I simply couldn’t go away your site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the
    usual information a person supply in your visitors?
    Is gonna be back continuously in order to
    investigate cross-check new posts


    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post.
    Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

  41. plenty of fish dating site

    I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts
    on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled
    upon this web site. Reading this info So i’m glad to express that
    I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I came upon just what I
    needed. I most for sure will make certain to don?t fail to remember this website and give it a glance on a continuing basis.

  42. vn hax

    I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while.

  43. quest bars cheap

    Hi there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely
    digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

  44. plenty of fish dating site

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a
    little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a
    free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There
    are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
    Any suggestions? Bless you!

  45. how to get help in windows 10

    Hello there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this problem.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

  46. how to get help in windows 10

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.
    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back down the road.

    I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have a nice evening!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *