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The Imperfectionists: When in Rome, report the news

  • Jun 21, 2010
Rating:
+4
The Imperfectionists is much different than any other novel I've ever read, as it doesn't really have a plot. The only plot mentioned is at the end of each chapter in the last few pages where Rachman does some storytelling. As you read through the novel, it unfolds the story of how the paper initially began with one man's desire to create an International paper in English that would circulate around the globe.

I mention the fact that this novel does not have a plot, not as a way to deter prospect readers but to note Rachman's unique writing style. The layout of The Imperfectionists is very simple,  each chapter focuses on a specific reporter, editor, stringer or publisher.  As you read you learn more about the people as they all have a relationship to each other.  I must also say the relationships within the characters are very amusing, especially the love triangles! Many of the characters of the book are originally from New York which makes it interesting as they all end up in Rome (with the exception of the stringers).

As for the meat of the book, basically each chapter uncovers a few details about each character through their interaction with the other characters.  For instance there is a copy editor named Ruby Zaga. She started as an intern at the newspaper out of college.  One of the other interns who began her editorial career with her is named Kathleen Solson.  The chapter on Kathleen ("U.S. General Optimistic On War") comes before Ruby's chapter ("Kooks With Nukes"). So you, the reader, may get some background information on a character before they are formally introduced.

This is a very entertaining novel but it's important to know who your characters are, if you don't it'll lose all  the substance.






 



 

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More The Imperfectionists: A Novel reviews
review by . August 14, 2010
"The Imperfectionists" tracks the terminal decline of a fictional English language newspaper (headquartered in Rome), as its continuing slide into financial insolvency makes its extinction inevitable. The book is structured as a series of vignettes of the paper's key staffers, from obituary writer to editor-in-chief. This device allows Rachman to give a kaleidoscopic view of his main character, which is the paper itself, or more precisely the specific constellation of talent, personalities, relationships, …
review by . May 27, 2010
I was suprised by how very much I enjoyed this wonderful debut novel. Revolving around the lives of the current staff of an Enlish language daily published in Rome, the narrative is broken up by snippets from the past that give the reader greater insight into the paper than the characters themselves have. Each chapter is a short story about one of the characters; the way they weave together to tell the story of the paper itself is a delightful surprise.     Each of these vignettes …
review by . September 16, 2010
With unsparing wit, Rachman portrays the dying throes of an international newspaper through its myriad, mostly sadsack, employees. This first novel is a series of linked stories, the characters united only by their ties to the newspaper.    Rachman introduces the paper through a veteran American-in-Paris freelancer whose dismal situation rather parallels that of the newspaper. And old rouĂ© getting his comeuppance, Lloyd Burko is broke and desperate for a story. His much-younger …
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2010
I never thought a book without a plot could be as enjoyable as this book has been to read. Each chapter hones in on a specific character. At the end of each chapter, Rachman brings you back in time when the paper was originally coming together, the struggles and excitement of it all. It's a very enjoyable read. This book breaks a lot of rules and has a style of its own.
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   Why, hello there! Thanks for visiting. Where to begin? I'm a freelance writer for the Examiner. I'm a vegetarian and an advocate. I use my column at the Examiner as a platform. I'm … more
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Starred Review. 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. Chapters read like exquisite short stories, turning out the intersecting lives of the men and women who produce the paper—and one woman who reads it religiously, if belatedly. In the opening chapter, aging, dissolute Paris correspondent Lloyd Burko pressures his estranged son to leak information from the French Foreign Ministry, and in the process unearths startling family fare that won't sell a single edition. Obit writer Arthur Gopal, whose overarching goal at the paper is indolence, encounters personal tragedy and, with it, unexpected career ambition. Late in the book, as the paper buckles, recently laid-off copyeditor Dave Belling seduces the CFO who fired him. Throughout, the founding publisher's progeny stagger under a heritage they don't understand. As the ragtag staff faces down the implications of the paper's tilt into oblivion, there are more than enough sublime moments, unexpected turns and sheer inky wretchedness to warrant putting this on the shelf next to other great newspaper novels. (Apr.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0385343663
ISBN-13: 978-0385343664
Author: Tom Rachman
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: The Dial Press
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