The Imperfectionists Hardcover – 4 Mar 2010
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'Rachman is an admirable stylist. Each chapter is so finely wrought that it could stand alone as a memorable short story... Funny, poignant, occasionally breathtaking novel' Financial Times.
'sketched with lively charm... loaded with charm and insight, the novel brings human tenderness to an inky business besieged by budget cuts and online competition' Daily Mail.
'Rachman has a real gift for capturing a life in a few sentences ... we realise the book has taken us through the 50-year life of the newspaper, and brought to life a moving cast of characters. By turns, funny and desperately sad, Rachman's always readable novel is a terrific debut' The Jewish Chronicle.
'A precise, playful fiction with a deep but lightly worn intelligence' Times Literary Supplement.
'Vignettes packed with poignant insights and laugh out loud dialogue, the reader is left amazed and delighted by this new author whose prose is reminiscent of Portman and Vonnegut yet wholly and wonderfully his own. Buy this book!' Canada Post.
'The Imperfectionists is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it's assembled like a Rubik's cube ... a cross between Evelyn Waugh's Scoop and Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing adventure ... (this) is so good I had to read it twice' New York Times Book Review. 'Hilarious and poignant debut... Rachman's strength lies in the rendering of the characters - all 11 are believable, flawed and lovable... The Imperfectionists is funny and prescient, but still full of hope' Yorkshire Post.
'Light-footed lyricism... a series of acutely observed character sketches and a poignant sense of nostalgia' Glasgow Herald. 'Anyone who has ever spent time in newspaperland will recognize The Imperfectionists' high degree of authenticity. So will quite a few people beyond' Guardian.
From the Inside Flap
The newspaper was founded in Rome in the 1950s, a product of passion and a multi-millionaire's fancy. Over fifty years, its eccentricities earned a place in readers' hearts around the globe. But now, circulation is down, the paper lacks a website, and the future looks bleak. Still, those involved in the publication seem to barely notice. The obituary writer is too busy avoiding work. The editor-in-chief is pondering sleeping with an old flame. The obsessive reader is intent on finishing every old edition, leaving her trapped in the past. And the dog-crazy publisher seems less interested in his struggling newspaper than in his magnificent basset hound, Schopenhauer. The Imperfectionists interweaves the stories of eleven unusual and endearing characters who depend on the paper. Often at odds, they are united when the focus of their lives begins to fall apart. Funny and moving, the novel is about endings - the end of life, the end of sexual desire, the end of the era of newspapers - and about what might rise afterward.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Every second chapter - the majority of the book - is a character portrait of one of the individuals connected to the paper. The majority are employees of the newspaper (one is a reader), who range from the editor-in-chief through to the obituary writer and an occasional freelancer. Each chapter is a perfect little short story, while also contributing further to our understanding of the total picture. The majority are employees of the newspaper (one is a reader), who range from the editor-in-chief through to the obituary writer and an occasional freelancer.
There were three stories that I particularly liked. The bittersweet first chapter is about Lloyd Burko, a washed up foreign correspondant who is alienated from his family and has lost his touch pursuing the big story. He tries to milk his son as a source, but things don't pan out as he expects. Then there's Winston Cheung, a young want-to-be reporter trying to establish himself in Cairo, who is hopelessly steamrolled by another reporter vying for the same position. I also loved the beautifully written chapter about Abbey Pinnola, the newspaper's CFO, who ends up seated next to a man she recently fired on an 11 hour plane trip to the US.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Engrossing and beautifully written. I felt the characters were wonderfully well drawn and I could really sense them. I didn't want the book to end. Read morePublished 1 month ago by isa
This is an excellent read by a gifted author. It’s made of 11 short stories from 11 characters all connected to a Roman newspaper in one way or another. Read morePublished 5 months ago by keen reader
It looked more like a compilation of short stories... the only thing they had in common was the workplace. Not enough time to learn about their characters.Published 17 months ago by Kiamora
“What I really fear is time. That’s the devil: whipping us on when we’d rather loll, so the present sprints by, impossible to grasp, and all is suddenly past, a past that won’t... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Cloggie Downunder
Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists is half novel, half collection of short stories. Its overarching plot is that of an international, English-language newspaper based in Rome,... Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2014 by reader 451
Beautifully written, this is effectively a book of connected short stories set in and around an American newspaper in Rome. Read morePublished on 31 July 2014 by Andrew Billen