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Judge Savage [Paperback]

Tim Parks
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

3 Jun 2004

Promoted young to the position of Crown Court Judge - because of his ability, but perhaps also for certain questions of political convenience - it's time for Daniel Savage to settle down. Perhaps his marriage is happy enough after all. Teenage children require a father's attention. His career demands the most responsible behaviour. Day by day Judge Savage presides over those whose double lives have been exposed. He must be above suspicion.

But why does his daughter refuse to move to their spacious new house? Why does a young Korean woman keep phoning him to beg for help? As the most tangled lives are ironed out in court, Daniel Savage's own existence descends into a mess of violence and confusion. English society has fragmented into an incomprehensible public gallery where every face conceals a different culture. And those with whom we have the greatest intimacy are suddenly the most frighteningly mysterious.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099445042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099445043
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 362,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A book for our times... A moving, important novel" (Irish Independent)

"The world that Parks evokes is densely textured, a patchwork or memories, desires and declarations that brilliantly captures the complexity of consciousness" (Sunday Times)

"A dashing mixture of thriller, social comedy and dysfunctional family saga... A virtuoso piece, a tour de force, highly enjoyable" (Spectator)

"A grimly affecting novel of adultery and family disintegration... A brilliant, even contentious, novel of bleak humour and undeniable power" (Evening Standard)

"Parks is a master of emotional complexity" (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

'Judge Savage is a work of tremendous learning and subtlety' - Observer

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an underrated writer 5 Dec 2012
I can't understand why Tim Parks isn't more widely read. This novel is a real page-turner, full of surprising plot twists, vivid characters--especially the central character. What's most striking is the speed at which it moves, which conveys the tension, even the chaos, of contemporary London life. And I like the way that he turns his apparently very untypical hero--black judge, serial adulterer--into a sort of everyman figure whom we are rooting for despite all his flaws.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A morally complex man 2 Oct 2009
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This somewhat manic book has the disadvantage that Parks has chosen to tell his story in the consciousness of one person with no line changes or quotation marks for dialogue. It can sometimes be difficult, therefore, to be sure who is speaking. This, however, is the only disadvantage. To look at this another way, the pace is sparkling, the plot eminently clear, and the panic to which the main character is prone is conveyed admirably.

Judge Savage was adopted - a mixed-race child, he was given every advantage by his middle-class parents - and now he is at the top of his chosen field, indeed, he has been made a judge. He is very good at his job and the reader finds it easy to empathise with this likeable, if morally complex, man. For Daniel Savage is also a bit of a womaniser. His marriage is falling apart and his daughter in particular is making things extremely uncomfortable for him because of past transgressions and some very unwise choices in his amorous life. After gaining plaudits for a difficult judgement and coming out of a life-threatening attack as the nation's hero, he seems set for an easy ride, but there are things in his cupboards distinctly skeletal.

I heartily enjoyed this book which showed the discomfort and hypocrisy of having to pronounce judgement upon your fellow man while private affairs spiral out of control. It also gives a distinctly engrossing insight into the business of how a judge conducts a trial.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Contemporary Novel in Years 19 Mar 2004
By Q - Published on Amazon.com
Simply put, this is the best contemporary novel I have read in a few years. Multilayered, complex, and humane, the novel is a tour de force in capturing a man (and family) in crisis. Weaving issues of race, marriage, family, work, and the legal system into a coherent and humane whole, Mr. Parks has produced a fine and gripping work digging into the consciences of his characters to illuminate the messiness that is daily life. In Daniel, Parks has created one of the most indelible characters in modern fiction. There are no easy answers to be had in this book, but the attempts to get there have rarely been so rewarding for readers.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a smart, gripping, beautifully written novel 26 Nov 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
parks has written terrific nonfiction about italy, and terrific novels, too, but this is absolutely one of his best--a lively, believable tale, a great protagonist (almost clintonian in his intellect and inability to stay out of trouble), and a really good cast of secondary characters as well. pure pleasure, as a reading experience, something I rarely ever feel, and I read more novels than most. highly and totally recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed 18 Feb 2004
By Jeffrey Chaplin - Published on Amazon.com
This book does have the basic ingredients more or less right. The story is convincing (but not compelling) and the characters are well rendered. However, only the main character is developed sufficiently for the reader to understand his motivations.
I enjoyed the book but was disappointed in two important ways. Firstly, there is no real 'ending', the story just fizzles out, exactly as if Mr. Parks had lost interest in it and wanted to move on to something else. Secondly, an important revelation does not appear; the effect is as if the author couldn't find something plausible and thus chose to simply forget about it.
So deduct a star for the the above two points. Deduct another one for the clumsy style in which dialogue is written without quotation marks. The effect of this is that the reader frequently has to skip back a sentence or two to be sure which character actually spoke. This is a shame because otherwise I would say that Mr. Parks' use of language and style is quite excellent.
In short, a good read somewhat spoiled by its failure to live up to its promise.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Man in crisis... 16 May 2008
By D. Kanigan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Daniel Savage, a "colored man of obscurely mixed origin" and adopted child of white parents, is a lawyer who has been "promoted" to Judge in England's Crown Court. Story set in late 90's / early 2000's. Similar to the themes of the author's later books "Europa" and "Cleaver", the story is centered around its main character (Daniel Savage), who is a man in crisis. Savage's serial philandering come to the surface and place him at risk - his life at risk with the Korean Mob - his marriage of 20 years at risk - his relationships with his children at risk - and finally his professional position with the court is placed at risk. He shares his travails with his best friend Martin, who is in the throws of what appears to be severe depression - who pushes Savage to "come clean." The story then weaves in some compelling legal cases that are presented in front of Judge Savage. Savage's conscience runs overtime with guilt - he tries to do the right thing and he finds himself further entangled.

Tim Parks is a master of placing you in the mind and thoughts of its principal character. The interior monologue is weaved in and out of Savage's conversations and Savage's personal thoughts so you are along for the ride with him the entire way. Parks' writing extends beyond a simple murder/who-done-it mystery as he shares some of the major struggles of social and individual day-to-day life at the time.

I found the story line somewhat underwhelming (3-rating out of 5) but the quality of Park's writing to be best-in-class (6-rating out of 5) to average down to a 4.

Andrew Riemer, the Herald's book reviewer, said it best in his review of this book: "it's how well you write (and with how much integrity), not what you write about, that makes for compelling fiction."

My ratings scheme with 10 being high grade:

Page Turner: 7
Memorable: 6
Character Development: 10
Live the Story: 7
Flow / Easy to Follow: 8
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good 21 Oct 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I found this novel as engrossing as Europa, or more so, and extremely enjoyed its storyline and prose structure.
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