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

by Tom Rachman

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2,4711602,482 (3.69)255
Member:mausergem
Title:Imperfectionists, The
Authors:Tom Rachman
Info:Quercus Publishing Plc (2011), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Journalism

Work details

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (2010)

2010 (37) 2011 (38) 2012 (13) 21st century (13) American (17) book club (16) contemporary (10) contemporary fiction (23) ebook (27) Europe (14) expats (13) fiction (370) Italy (88) journalism (134) journalists (40) Kindle (46) literary fiction (13) literature (20) newspaper (57) newspapers (71) novel (49) own (16) read (29) read in 2010 (22) read in 2011 (27) relationships (14) reporter (17) Rome (144) short stories (19) to-read (74)
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» See also 255 mentions

English (153)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Swedish (2)  Danish (1)  All languages (160)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
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 |
smart, funny, dark - there is a lot to like in this novel, and i enjoyed it a lot. i enjoyed the different eras and perspectives of this fictional newspaper and its cast of characters. there were two moments that actually made me go "WTF?!?!", and that showed rachman to be a bit of a dark and twisty soul. while i know where this story was headed, once i got there it felt too abrupt and not quite as solid as the rest of the book. i also felt there were some inconsistencies in how characters/story lines were handled. but neither of these criticisms were enough to seriously impact my enjoyment of this novel. ( )
  DawsonOakes | May 14, 2014 |
Spoilers. This is a book about an English language newspaper in Rome. It consists of stories about different people connected with the newspaper. It was readable, and parts were good. I found it kind of wearing by the end; some of the stories were pretty over the top. Plus at least one was pretty ugly, with worse implications.

(oh I just realized -- did she convince the owners to close the paper because of what the guy did to her?)
  franoscar | Apr 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (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.
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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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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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