The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)

71%

16 Critic Reviews

In his zinger of a debut, Rachman deftly applies his experience as foreign correspondent and editor to chart the goings-on at a scrappy English-language newspaper in Rome.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

BONUS: This edition contains a The Imperfectionists discussion guide and an excerpt from Tom Rachman's The Rise & Fall of Great Powers.

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman’s wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English language newspaper as they struggle to keep it—and themselves—afloat.

Fifty years and many changes have ensued since the paper was founded by an enigmatic millionaire, and now, amid the stained carpeting and dingy office furniture, the staff’s personal dramas seem far more important than the daily headlines. Kathleen, the imperious editor in chief, is smarting from a betrayal in her open marriage; Arthur, the lazy obituary writer, is transformed by a personal tragedy; Abby, the embattled financial officer, discovers that her job cuts and her love life are intertwined in a most unexpected way. Out in the field, a veteran Paris freelancer goes to desperate lengths for his next byline, while the new Cairo stringer is mercilessly manipulated by an outrageous war correspondent with an outsize ego. And in the shadows is the isolated young publisher who pays more attention to his prized basset hound, Schopenhauer, than to the fate of his family’s quirky newspaper.

As the era of print news gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions.

Spirited, moving, and highly original, The Imperfectionists will establish Tom Rachman as one of our most perceptive, assured literary talents.
 

About Tom Rachman

See more books from this Author
Tom Rachman was born in London and raised in Vancouver. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Columbia School of Journalism, he has been a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, stationed in Rome. From 2006 to 2008, he worked as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He lives in Rome.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published March 25, 2010 by The Dial Press. 369 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 13 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Imperfectionists
All: 16 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 4

NY Times

Excellent
on May 05 2010

Mr. Rachman may write about other subjects with equal grace and ease. But this book, his marvelous first, will always seem like one from the heart.

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NY Times

Good
on Apr 30 2010

...I’ll let you read it yourself. Perhaps even, as I did, twice.

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Guardian

Below average
on Apr 10 2010

The parallels (or discrepancies) between the characters' careers and their private lives are sometimes a bit obtrusively picked over.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Nov 30 2009

In his zinger of a debut, Rachman deftly applies his experience as foreign correspondent and editor to chart the goings-on at a scrappy English-language newspaper in Rome.

Read Full Review of The Imperfectionists: A Novel... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Globe and Mail

Good
on Jun 04 2010

...this book is filled with gorgeous writing, jolts of insight and narrative surprises that feel both unexpected and inevitable.

Read Full Review of The Imperfectionists: A Novel... | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

AV Club

Good
on Apr 29 2010

The Imperfectionists is a lovingly rendered tribute to a increasingly bygone era, and a page-turner for those still in thrall to turning them.

Read Full Review of The Imperfectionists: A Novel... | See more reviews from AV Club

The Washington Post

Good
on May 01 2010

Rachman is a fine observer and a funny writer -- and a writer who knows how to be funny in character.

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Christian Science Monitor

Above average
on Jun 15 2010

...Rachman uses the structure of his novel to give meaning to his insecure, scrabbling characters: They might be burned-out and bad-tempered, but in that newsroom, they are greater than the sum of their parts.

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Pajiba

Above average

While reading this, I kept aching for more—more of a closure for many of the characters, more happiness for some of the saddest, un-self-respecting individuals, and just more of the newspaper lore.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Good
on May 07 2010

...there is something unexpectedly moving about this novel.

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About.com

Below average

...each individual story is so brief that in none of them are the characters developed enough to be sympathetic in the reader's eyes.

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About.com Bestsellers

Above average

Rings with genuine circumstance & journalistic procedure while characters reveal their own stories.

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Seattle PI

Good
on Apr 02 2010

There are no wasted words in this book, every scene and detail move the characters and story forward. "The Imperfectionists" will make you laugh and cry. It's the rare novel that can shift emotional tone effortlessly.

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The Millions

Below average
on Jun 17 2010

The characters—coming in and out of focus, growing more or less important—do not really develop, and the new information we glean about them from story to story is not always illuminating.

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Open Salon

Above average
on Jun 15 2010

Rachman’s writing style isn’t showy or stylized – but more importantly you have a genuine sense of place, and you sense some purpose within the people he’s created.

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Publishing Perspective

Good
on Apr 19 2010

With lightening-quick prose that’s heavy on dialog, Rachman catches his characters at tense, often life-changing, moments. On the whole, these are energetic and suspenseful stories, filled with crises and stress.

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Reader Rating for The Imperfectionists
64%

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Terri McGinty 23 May 2013

Rated the book as 2 out of 5

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