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The Imperfectionists (2010)

by Tom Rachman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,7882273,339 (3.66)293
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.
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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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    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 293 mentions

English (217)  Swedish (3)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 217 (next | show all)
The Imperfectionists has received nothing but rave reviews at work; in fact, "we" loved it so much that we sent out an email to our customers offering a discount on it, just in an attempt to share it with as many people as possible. So as you can imagine, I was REALLY anxious to get my hands on it! Well, it took a while; the galley was in high demand amongst the staff. But I was patient, and waited in line, and eventually I was rewarded when my turn came up.

I greatly enjoyed it, but I did not love it with the same fervor and intensity as my colleagues. (As a side note, once I admitted this fact, there were several others who agreed that they felt a bit let down after the storewide buzz about it.) That is not to say it isn't a wonderful book. It's beautifully written; it has great, fully developed characters who are both quirky and entertaining; it offers a multifaceted and engaging window into the world of newspaper publishing, both in the 1950s (when the paper is founded) and now, as newspapers are a kind of endangered news form. In fact, in my opinion it has all the necessary ingredients of a great novel. The Imperfectionists is actually a collection of short stories, woven around the common thread of the newspaper. Each main character has a chapter, but also makes cameos in other chapters, a technique that adds dimension and offers the reader a multiple perspectives. Despite the fact that it is a connected collection of stories, it does read more like a novel.

So what is my complaint? What was missing for me? I'm not really sure, to be honest. Maybe nothing. I read the whole thing, I enjoyed it from start to finish, it held my interest and kept me entertained. But I was not in love with it. I recommend you pick up a copy and see for yourself! ( )
  kdegour23 | May 29, 2024 |
Funny at times, poignant at others, tale of the rise and fall of an English-language paper in Rome. (The author worked at the International Herald Tribune.) Each chapter relates a different character's story linked together by the author's tone and their work at the paper. Wonderfully quotable descriptions throughout, plus chapter titles. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
I thought this was good. It's not much like what I normally read, in that it's very aggressively "literary" and has lots of "deep" and "meaningful" undertones, but I still found the book to be engaging and well written. The different perspectives on the newspaper combine nicely, and the book has a good pacing that makes it enjoyable to read even when certain sections are really quite depressing.

The book really does lay bare some of the sadder aspects of the human condition, so if you are not a fan of books that lead you to some self reflection, stay away. ( )
  mrbearbooks | Apr 22, 2024 |
Follows the life of small newspaper in Rome and the imperfect lives of those who work there. OK read.
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
Hmmm. This was a really hard book to wrap my head around. It started very slowly and I didn't really understand the structure with the inset sections about the founding of the paper.

Once I got a handle on things I decided I didn't like it much -- depressing stories. But then, something shifted and I really started to enjoy what was happening. The connections started to make sense and the stories were still sad but not quite as awful and bleak as the earlier stories but then we got to the final chapter and that really was a total downer. It made me feel awful and like it was all just a terrible use of my time. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 217 (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 (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachman, Tomprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Apunen, MattiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bachman, Barbara M.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biermann, PiekeTranslatorsecondary 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.
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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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.

No library descriptions found.

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

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