At the midpoint of his life, Jerry Marlow finds himself on a bus taking him from Milan to Strasbourg. Sitting slightly off-center on the long back seat, he takes stock of the wreckage strewn behind him--a failed marriage, a daughter going astray, and an affair that has left him both numb and licking every wound, self-inflicted or otherwise. Even Marlow's teaching job at the university in Milan is jeopardized by new Italian laws restricting foreigners. And ahead? What lies in wait around the next bend? There are times when the most appalling premonitions seem all too plausible, yet the pull of hope cannot be resisted.
Fueled by Marlow's scalpel-sharp commentary--double-edged and unsparing--Europa is a decidedly adult road novel with a rich international gallery of characters, and offers an explosive, sometimes hilarious portrait of a man patching together his life on a continent whose rhetoric of unity is less convincing--and far less exciting--than its bizarre polyglot passions and ancient conflicts. Bristling with ferocious wordplay, mordant comedy, and a vision of the sexes as honest as it is incorrect, Europa is Tim Parks's finest novel to date.