The Imperfectionists (Tom Rachman)

The imperfectionists ISBN: 9780385343664
Publisher: Dial Press 2010
Pages: 272
Links: WorldCatRead OnlineLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder

I picked up The Imperfectionists because I was intrigued by the premise. In general, I tend to be wary of ‘critically acclaimed bestsellers’, but this one is based in an English newspaper, in Italy – both settings of interest.

So first, the basics. The Imperfectionists is a novel/collection of short stories, whose main protagonists are all connected to an English daily in Italy. The stories are loosely connected, and the book spans the newspapers founding, through its publishing heyday, on to its eventual demise.

I found the stories an easy read, but at the end of the book, I hadn’t found a single character who really resonated. The only person for whom I felt some was Herman Cohen, the corrections editor, and even that was largely because I identified with his fastidious focus on ‘proper’ English. Of course, the book is called ‘The Imperfectionists’ for a reason – its characters are all flawed. At the same time though, I was often unable to identify with any of their motivations, which for me, is usually the reason I read a story. No spoiler alerts required, I think, to say that over all the stories were a little bleak .

What I did enjoy, though, was the behind-the-scenes peak at how a newspaper functions, and the style – stories told in present tense – was interesting.

I thought the book/ stories were readable, but not outstanding. Given the overwhelmingly laudatory reviews it’s received so far from critics, I’m clearly in a minority!

Maya Chandrasekaran

Maya Chandrasekaran

Director - Strategic Partnerships at
"I'm a confessed bookaholic, but haven't had the nerve (or ingenuity) to make a career out of that. So I do the next best thing - I spend my free time reading, buying, borrowing and discussing books... and books about books."

Maya always has three books going at the same time - a different book for every mood. She loves exploring new authors, but every now and then she sinks back into the comfort of old favourites like murder mysteries and Regency romances. A corporate butterfly, Maya lives and works in Bangalore, India.
Maya Chandrasekaran

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