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The Italian jobs

A fable-like novel exposes the country's labyrinthine bureaucracy

Milan, where Tim Parks's new novel is set Photo: Needpix

Milan, where Tim Parks's new novel is set Photo: Needpix

For those not privy to its secret rules, building a career in Italy can be disorienting. In his new novel, Tim Parks attempts to describe to international readers the rather obtuse systems of clientelism that underpin professional life in his adopted homeland.

The book follows Valeria, a young girl from the southern region of Basilicata who has moved to Milan to become an academic. Despite having no family connections to…

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