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Out of My Head
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Adventures in the latest studies on consciousness, from bestselling non-fiction writer Tim Parks

About the Author

Born in Manchester, Tim Parks grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. He lives in Milan. He is the acclaimed author of novels, non-fiction and essays, including Europa, In Extremis, A Season with Verona, Teach Us to Sit Still and Italian Ways. He has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, won the Somerset Maugham Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the John Florio Prize and the Italo Calvino Prize.

Reviews

With wit, humanity and insight... [Parks] tackles a question that the greatest philosophical and scientific minds have struggled with for centuries: what is consciousness?... Parks is an entertaining companion throughout * Mail on Sunday *
Parks, who is best-known for his Toujours Provence-like memoirs of life in Italy, succeeds admirably in bringing difficult ideas down a level. Eleanora Gallitelli, his Italian partner, who accompanies him to a psychiatric hospital in Heidelberg for research purposes, also helps. Gallitelli recently told me that she is deaf in one ear. The story of her sudden irreparable deafness - how her brain began to develop a mind of its own, playing tricks with spatial awareness and balance - is quite brilliantly told here. Parks writes well enough to appeal to the layman and the mind boffin alike. Out of My Head is pleasurably nutty, self-regarding and at times quite hilarious. * Evening Standard *
[A] fantastic journey into the human brain...Parks makes an excellent point about what he calls the "internalist" position (that our picture of reality is just that: a subjective one, concocted by our brains), which is that it flatters our sense of our own importance, making of us creators of our own effectively unique worlds. -- Will Self * New Statesman *
By describing his efforts to understand the phenomenon of consciousness in the form of a candid and entertaining journal-cum-memoir, Tim Parks has made a difficult subject interesting and accessible. He is an amateur in this crowded field but he presents professional neuroscientists with some challenging questions. -- David Lodge
An exceptionally witty and compelling look at the nature of consciousness... In tackling consciousness, the full frontal assault, as often practised by philosophers and, in a different way, by neuroscientists, can only get us so far. Tim Parks' new book is a refreshing attempt to creep up on the hard question obliquely; and to take the argument deeper into the very realm of our embodied experience than it usually goes. The result is lucid, witty and engaging: a deft philosophical juggling act providing, in an honourable tradition, more questions than answers... A confessed outsider to both academic philosophy and neuroscience, Parks demonstrates the truth that sometimes the outsider sees most of the game. And he has done his homework... Parks is not only excellent company, but a worthy debating partner. He is a delight to read. -- Ian McGilchrist * The Tablet *
Tim Parks considers midlife crisis, a Pixar cartoon and 'spread mind' theory in his thoughtful quest to understand consciousness....Consciousness is weighty philosophical and scientific ground, yet Parks plots a chatty, accessible path through impenetrable academic papers and conferences on his quest to understand more about being human * Observer *

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