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The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom…
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The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

by Tom Rachman

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3114835,978 (3.67)36

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English (48)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Three time periods. Three stories. One life.

I had a hard time really getting into the story, especially as I had to understand how the story was supposed to progress. You're presented with three time periods in the life of our character, Tooly: 1988, 1999/2000, and 2011. After I got past the initial disorientation, I found it to be a very fascinating way to read a book. When you think about it, there really is no beginning an end in our lives…rather, we go through events in our lives over and over again. Just because a book ends doesn't mean the story ends for that character…unless they died. In most stories, at least. In [b:The Rise & Fall of Great Powers|19104786|The Rise & Fall of Great Powers|Tom Rachman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387148959s/19104786.jpg|26123951], you're taken on three separate adventures in the life and times of Tooly.

The progression of the plot was slow at times, and sometimes I felt that I just wanted to rush through the chapters. Our main character, Tooly, seems to slowly understand her place in people's lives, which is essentially everything that the book is about. Not exactly about the rise and fall of great powers….as in, I thought that this book would be something along the lines of the rise and fall of great civilizations. Guess I should have read the back of the book blurb a little more carefully. I can't say that any of the characters or events are all that memorable. They're good, but not memorable.

A decent read, especially if you like the idea of three stories in one. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
The intricately woven new novel about a young woman who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past, by the author of The Imperfectionists. ( )
  St.CroixSue | May 5, 2015 |
Because of a strong review, I suggested this book to my wife. She hated it. Dropped it after reading 30 pages or so. I picked it up. The book actually was an intriguing read. The story line jumps back and forth between 3 time periods, following the life of a young girl-woman and those around her. The story develops slowly and has some interesting twists. Each flip of the time cycle adds a little more to the life of Tooley Zilberberg, the book's central character. Rachman's writing style was unusual enough so that it kept me reading. ( )
1 vote rondoctor | Mar 3, 2015 |
Hard to follow at first, but eventually the reader figures out the time map and falls in love with Tooly Zylberberg and her eclectic and peripatetic "family" The story goes back and forth to follow her life to such exotic spots as Bangkok, Australia, South Africa, Wales, Brooklyn. It's almost too convoluted to try to explain, and I suspect I'm going to read this one again---this time, I may "rearrange the chapters" and read lineally. I also listened to the audio, presented by a spectacular narrator Penelope Rawlins in which she offers us a wide spectrum of voices and accents. ( )
  tututhefirst | Jan 6, 2015 |
READ IN ENGLISH

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

I hadn't read Tom Rachman's first book, The Imperfectionists, but after I found out this book was about a woman owning a book shop, I wanted to read this. Just don't get your hopes up too high, because unfortunately there's very few book shop in this book.

There is however, an interesting story, that takes a while to unravel but kept me wondering exactly what happened in Bangkok and who are all these people involved. The ending wasn't completely satisfying, but I think it fitted the book.

I don't think this is a novel for everyone. In the beginning it was extremely slow, and especially the 2011-storyline had some troubles to keep my attention. But once it is clear something is going on, it didn't bother me any more. It was not a very easy or light read (perhaps I've just read too much YA lately) but an enjoyable one all the same. I just happened to be in my book shop last week (surprise!) and there The Rise And Fall Of Great Powers was the English book of the month. ( )
1 vote Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Tom Rachman’s ingenious second novel, “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers,” is harder to describe than “The Imperfectionists,” his sensational first.
The richness of this book is more apparent once the reading is over. In other words, “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers” is knottier than “The Imperfectionists,” and more deliberately confusing.
added by sneuper | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Jun 10, 2014)
 
Mingling these time frames and withholding explanations about characters’ relations to each other, Rachman raises the stakes of this minor mystery somewhat higher than the novel can ultimately afford.
Now beyond resentment or blame, she just wants a usable past and someone worthy of her tender heart. Rachman is certainly such a person, and in these pages, you may discover that you are, too.
added by sneuper | editWashington Post, Ron Charles (Jun 10, 2014)
 
To my taste, at least at the outset, Rachman steers dangerously close to being merely whimsical. There's something slightly cutesy about the wall-to-wall eccentricity, something slightly precious about the fey withholding of information from the reader.
I had a little snooze on page 40, but by page 340 I was bolt awake. I'll keep The Rise and Fall of Great Powers on my shelf.
added by sneuper | editthe Guardian, Sam Leith (Jun 5, 2014)
 
Some novels are such good company that you don’t want them to end; Tom Rachman knows this, and has pulled off the feat of writing one.
All this amounts to a touching story of fallen idols, with brilliant insight into misplaced loyalties, and the power that adults have over children. Rachman has written a hugely likeable, even loveable book about the people we meet and how they shape us.
added by sneuper | editthe Telegraph, Lucy Daniel (Jun 4, 2010)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Rachmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stheeman, TjadineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Voorhoeve, OnnoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385676956, Hardcover)

The New York Times and Globe & Mail-bestselling author of The Imperfectionists returns with an intricately woven novel about a bookseller who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past.
     Tooly Zylberberg tells a story: as a child, she was stolen from home, stashed at a den of thieves, then adopted by crooks there, who ended up raising her and even using the little girl in capers around the globe. But Tooly understands only fragments of what happened in Thailand, Italy, New York and beyond. Then, a desperate message reaches her musty bookshop in Wales, and she is lured into a journey that will reveal the secret of her childhood. Celebrated for his ingenious plotting, humanity and humor, Tom Rachman has written a novel that will amplify his reputation as one of the most exciting young writers today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth. Tooly believes she will never know the true story of her own life. Then startling news arrives from a long-lost boyfriend, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search for answers.… (more)

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