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

by Tom Rachman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8631872,023 (3.68)276
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)

  1. 00
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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 276 mentions

English (179)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (187)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
Wasn't sure what I was going to think about this book since each chapter is about someone different that is either working at the newspaper or associated with the newspaper some how. They are each their own little short story yet the book felt like one cohesive story. The author did a nice job of tying them all together. I don't normally like reading short stories because I usually like to know more of the story and more of the characters. A lot of times I feel let down with only a tease. But this book was very enjoyable. It is also a pretty quick read since I read it in a day and I'm a slow reader. I went to college for journalism and I worked in the Des Moines Register news room during college so this book made sense to me and drew me to it because I had a history in journalism. But still, if you really don't know newspapers and the media, it's still a nice read. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
Beautifully simple in it's design, The Imperfectionists is a gathering of lives. The chapters are dedicated to the nuances of each person's character by revealing a personal crisis. I am haunted by this book. It lingers with me. This is the art that Tom Rachman has with the printed word, the talent to make life dramatic, elegant, as we the readers witness countless small heartbreaks that define the employees of this nameless newspaper. The Imperfectionists captures the nuances of life, the reality that no one life is perfect. While it reveals the inner workings of journalism, it lacks the altruistic, objective journalism often portrayed in many novels. By focusing in upon the people of the newspaper, allowing each character a moment in time, the novel explodes with richness. I loved this book and plan on reading more of this gifted writer. For the full review: http://goo.gl/Nw6tpm ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
Well written and sharply observed, providing a fascinating look into the world of journalism (as it was pre-internet, at least). But all in all a pretty depressing view of the world, people and their motives. ( )
  evaberry | May 3, 2016 |
Good writing but depressing. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
This excellent book covers the life of an English language newspaper based in Italy from its inception in the 1950's to the present. Between chapters, there are several pages about the paper itself and its inevitable rush to decline in this age of 'instant news'.

Each chapter takes us into the personal life of one person associated with the paper. They weave together beautifully, but would stand up rather well as separate short stories. Some have described this book as 'humour' - perhaps, but it would definitely be of the dark or bittersweet variety. While a large theme of the book seems to deal with disappointment, it is not depressing.

Some of my favourite bits include entries in the paper's style guide such as this one on the use of the word "literally":

literally: this word should be deleted. All too often, actions described as "literally" did not happen at all. As in, "He literally jumped out of his skin." No, he did not. [...] Inserting "literally" willy-nilly reinforces the notion that breathless nitwits lurk within this newsroom. Eliminate on sight - the usage, not the nitwits. The nitwits are to be captured and placed in the cages I have set up in the subbasement. See also: Excessive Dashes; Exclamation points; and Nitwits.

This is a book that would stand up to re-reading and I intend to do just that. ( )
  EvelynBernard | Apr 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (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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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.
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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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