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

by Tom Rachman

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2,6061662,297 (3.68)267
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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    BookshelfMonstrosity: These character-driven novels use vignettes and ensemble casts to explore multiple plots and the relationships between characters. 44 Scotland Street is both comical and upbeat, while The Imperfectionists is more nuanced, complex, and thoughtful.… (more)
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» See also 267 mentions

English (158)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
The Imperfectionists is a very cleverly created novel made up from a series of stories about individuals and their experiences working in a newsroom for a Rome-based newspaper. The environment of the newsroom is very vividly captured with the observational style of a news article, and I found the characters and the vignettes about them to be creative, quirky, but realistic, sometimes sad/mean, and yet oddly humorous. The way the individual stories are interwoven gives continuity and builds a secondary story around the demise of newspapers. A unique and enjoyable book, though I wouldn't give it that extra star for great literature. ( )
  asawyer | Dec 31, 2014 |
This is a book about disappointment. The Imperfectionists is a series of short vignettes--each featuring a different character--ingeniously tied together with short interludes about their common workplace. It is populated with a diverse variety of characters, each of which has to face disappointment in his or her own way.

I did not like the character the author introduces to us in the first chapter--maybe the weakest in the book--and almost gave up right there, but I'm glad I didn't. The stories are interrelated, of course, and as you move from one chapter (and character) to the next, the relationships begin to emerge, adding weight and interest to the story that unfolds. Ultimately, you begin to see that through these short tales, and through the relationships between the characters, and the work that brings them together, the author is revealing the human condition; both the despair and the resilience that helps us persevere and find meaning in whatever life we have chosen to live.

Tom Rachman has pulled off an amazing feat in ultimately getting us to view these people without judgement; to accept them on their own terms; to root for and care for them in spite of their foibles. You may not like all of the people in these stories, but you will recognize and understand them. Rachman's ability to reveal the truth and humanity of each of these lost souls, turns a book about disappointment into an uplifting experience. The unique structure adds interest as well. ( )
  echasc | Oct 26, 2014 |
Each chapter concerns a person (an editor, a copywriter, a reader etc) connected with an English language newspaper based in Rome. Some characters overlap a little, but each chapter is more or less self-contained. In addition the last few pages of each chapter tell the story of the paper from its founding through to its decline and eventual folding.

it was very well-written and each character came to life briefly, before we moved on to the next. I am not a big fan of short stories and these were not quite linked enough for me to get past that. In addition there was no real joy or positivity in the book. Each character suffered or was sad or disappointed or betrayed. I thought I would like this more than I did. ( )
  pgchuis | Sep 10, 2014 |
Surprisingly good read ... but not what I expected. The structure of the book is different, following each character individually and gradually linking them together. The plot line is rather depressing. This is not an uplifting read. Still, it is worth reading. ( )
  rondoctor | Sep 9, 2014 |
Have you ever been enjoying a book so much that you feel like racing through it just so you can find out what happened to the characters at the end? Conversely, have you ever wanted to linger for an indeterminate amount of time over a narrative because you just didn't want their story to come to its inevitable conclusion? Well, I experienced both of these emotions simultaneously while reading Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists. Each chapter revolved around a different individual with ties to the newspaper and each chapter heading was a different headline from the paper. At the conclusion of each chapter, a snippet of history regarding the evolution of the paper was inserted which coincided with the information the reader had just learned about an individual from the present day. It's a mystery to me how he wove everything together so effortlessly but I fully appreciated that the pieces of the story were all interconnected to create a cohesive tale about a newspaper with more drama behind the scenes than on its pages. A brilliant read which I highly encourage you to pick up and give a shot. ( )
  AliceaP | Aug 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 158 (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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For Claire and Jack.
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Lloyd shoves off the bedcovers and hurries to the front door in white underwear and black socks.
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If history taught us anything, Arthur muses, it is that men with mustaches must never achieve positions of power.
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(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)

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(see all 2 descriptions)

Preoccupied by personal challenges while running a struggling newspaper in Rome, an obituary writer confronts mortality, an eccentric publisher obsesses over his dog, and other staff members uncover the paper's founding by an impulsive millionaire.

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