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Customer Review

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More like a short story collection than a novel, 13 Dec. 2010
By 
This review is from: The Imperfectionists (Hardcover)
I bought this book based on the glowing reviews I'd read in the media. However, I found myself enjoying it less and less as I read. By the half-way point, I had to psych myself up to read it. Normally the writing style is what lets a book down for me, but I found Rachman's style unobtrusive and easy to read.

My main complaint was the vignette-like structure of the novel. Although a clever idea, I felt it was more like a collection of short stories than a novel. Each chapter focused on one character working for an English-language newspaper in Rome, while making only background appearances in the other chapters. I kept expecting the author to bring all the individual storylines together in a meaningful way, but I felt like it never really happened (although maybe I just never 'got' it!).

I also found it very difficult to care for any of the characters. Only a few were likeable and after the first couple of chapters it was apparent that we would never get a second chapter with each 'main' character anyway, so there was little point in becoming invested.

Overall, I would say that the book was well-written (which was mainly why I gave it 3 stars) and I would be likely to give Rachman's future work a read. However, the short story style and lack of emotion I felt towards any of the characters put me off, meaning that I struggled to finish the book in the end.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Mar 2011 18:53:37 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Mar 2011 18:56:02 GMT
K. Nicholson says:
I agree, Ashley. There are two or three good-ish stories among this collection but it never comes together. The book needs some firm editing. I came to it with a lot of goodwill but found it a bit thin.

Posted on 16 May 2011 14:36:05 BDT
kuga says:
Exactly my thoughts!

Posted on 7 Apr 2012 16:06:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Apr 2012 16:07:09 BDT
Agree with every point - and I, too, gave it three stars purely for the writing. The concept was clever, but the shallow characters and the relentless sense of misery made some chapters a real struggle, I have to say.
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