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The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
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The Imperfectionists (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Tom Rachman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5051612,420 (3.69)259
Member:jfaltz
Title:The Imperfectionists
Authors:Tom Rachman
Info:Quercus Books (2011), Paperback, 355 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:read 2012

Work details

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (2010)

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    giovannigf: Office Politics reads like a direct predecessor to The Imperfectionists: a fairly realistic (and biting) satire of the machinations behind a literary magazine, described from the point of view of each of the main characters.
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» See also 259 mentions

English (154)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
Marvelous and horribly depressing. Perfectly captures a spectrum of human foibles and uncomfortable situations, while spinning out an iconic version of the death of newsprint. ( )
  KRoan | Jul 25, 2014 |
Both a series of connected short stories and a novel, it reminded me of Kissing in Manhattan but was more successful. The stories were fleshed out,the people real (though some really unlikeable) and I really became invested in the paper and the people. Extremely enjoyable.
  amyem58 | Jul 16, 2014 |
A must for anyone who's been on the front lines of the implosion of the newspaper business over the past 20-40 years. I began my journalism career in my mid-90s, when things had already begun to decline, but I knew enough (and heard/learned enough from my mentors and old-timers) to realize what a sad and horrible thing was happening.

The plot isn't as elegant or seamless as one would hope, leaving this a novel that may be less appealing for those without a current or nostalgic connection to the newspaper business. And some of the characters are less developed than they could be – but that's kind of how it is in the newsroom, too. We never really know the full story of any of our colleagues, beyond their persona behind the desk, and that's part of what made it all so exciting: it always was all about the work and the stories, not the money or the personalities, and it's a real tragedy that investors and stockholders took all the fun out of what was surely the most interesting and life-affirming work I've ever had the pleasure of doing. Even when I was just a farm reporter in Western Illinois and had to burn my clothes after interviewing a factory pig farmer… it was real work, being out in the world and producing something original and new every day. I miss it, and this book reminded me not only how much but why. ( )
1 vote Seven.Stories.Press | Jun 13, 2014 |
Having spent some time at English-language news outlets in Europe, I'd say The Imperfectionists gets it right. The cast of characters are a pretty pathetic bunch of expatriates, but they're also pretty entertaining.

I read a review that criticized Rachman's portrayal of women as being emotionally unbalanced and needy. Well, at least Kathleen and Abbey are good at their jobs! Most of the men in the book are fairly incompetent in their professional and personal lives. I was especially fond of the chapter about the hapless stringer in Cairo.

Good fun, although not particularly uplifting about the state of journalism. ( )
  keneumey | Jun 4, 2014 |
The story of an English newspaper in Rome told through the lives of its staff. A trifle predictable but overall an interesting account of isolated editors each struggling in their own way. ( )
  emilyingreen | May 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it's assembled like a Rubik's Cube. I almost feel sorry for Rachman, because a debut of this order sets the bar so high.
 
Enjoy "The Imperfectionists" for the gem that it is.
 
"The Imperfectionists" is about what happens when professionals realize that their craft no longer has meaning in the world's eyes (think of all those hardworking monk-scribes idled by Gutenberg) and that the only people who really understand them are on the same foundering ship, and that, come to think of it, they really loved that damn ship for all it made their lives hell.
 
He's both testing and tender towards his people - their loneliness and purposelessness, moments of cleaving awareness ("one day, his son will die"), capabilities for love and commitment, devotion to kids, awareness of the fading future of a faded friend. It's convincing and compassionate; amusing and affectionate. In fact, it's a bit of a jewel.
 
Anyone who has ever spent time in newspaperland will recognise The Imperfectionists' high degree of authenticity. So – you hope – will quite a few people beyond it. The citadel may be crumbling, but the righteousness of the defenders, miraculously, endures.
added by lkernagh | editThe Guardian, DJ Taylor (Apr 10, 2010)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tom Rachmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bachman, Barbara M.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Vicq de Cumptich, RobertoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Claire and Jack.
First words
Lloyd shoves off the bedcovers and hurries to the front door in white underwear and black socks.
Quotations
If history taught us anything, Arthur muses, it is that men with mustaches must never achieve positions of power.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Employees of an old-style English language newspaper based in Rome struggle with personal tragedies, dilemmas, and blunders while eyeing the rising tide of technology.
Haiku summary
Declining news biz/intertwined sad, fun stories/journalists' lives suck (ReadWriteLib)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

An "imperfect" crew of reporters and editors working for an international English language newspaper stumble toward an uncertain future as the era of print news gives way to the Internet age. The story is set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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