Tim Parks is a writer of some very fine books indeed, which makes it even more of a shame that his most recent novel is flat, grim and (like its narrator) interesting only to itself. His main theme is adultery, a subject he explored in his wonderful novel Europa (1997), in the short story collection Talking About It (2005), and in the thoughtful essays of Adultery and Other Diversions (1998). But in recent years he has become the laureate of a certain kind of seedy, middle-aged infidelity, and In Extremis is single-minded to the point of obsession: anorak and dirty mac in one.
The problem might be that he is simply too productive. In Extremis is a loose sequel to Thomas And Mary (2016) a novel that explored the breakup of a marriage from a range of narrative perspectives.