Read: The imperfectionists by Tom Rachman


If this title looks familiar to you, you must be reading my blog (yay!). I began reading it earlier in the year but felt depressed by it’s story and characters so I put it down but didn’t count it out yet. Recently, I picked it back up and readily finished it, hardly believing that I’d knowingly stopped reading it in the first place.

Recommend? Absolutely! In fact, run to buy or borrow a copy right now and make it the next thing you read. The writing is stunning, the characters are realistic, and the story is a beautiful tapestry of the lives of co-workers at an English international paper in Rome. Beautifully done, and even more impressive that it’s Rachman’s first novel!

He calls it a novel and that’s what it is but the chapters take on a new character and there are very short backstory snippets in between each. Yet each chapter informs the next and together they form a larger story that encapsulates them all. Wonderful. Dare I say it? … This is my absolute favorite book of all time. Whoa. Yes, of all time.


Normally I scoff at blurbs and pull quotes on books because frankly they are glorified. But, this novel is an exception and Rachman more than deserves each of these comments: “Spectacular”–The New York Times  “Magnificent”–Seattle Post-Intelligencer  “Beguiling”–The Washington Post  “So good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off. I still haven’t answered that question, nor do I know how someone so young … could have acquired such a precocious grasp of human foibles. The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching.”–Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review  “Marvelous … a rich, thrilling book … a splendid original, filled with wit and structured so ingeniously that figuring out where the author is headed is half the reader’s fun.”–Janet Maslin, The New York Times  “Each chapter is so finely wrought that it could stand alone as a memorable short story. Slowly, the separate strands become entwined and the line characters have drawn between their work and home lives is erased … Funny, poignant, occasionally breathtaking.”–Financial Times  “Superb … Rachman delivers word portraits with all the verisimilitude of some of those masters handing in the museums of Rome. He’s that good”–The Plain Dealer  “Deftly written and sharply observed … Even if you’ve never set foot in a newsroom, The imperfectionists proves a delight … It’s impossible not to like–this is masterful stuff.”–The Philadelphia Reporter

I agree 100% will all those comments. Amazing, and a fairly quick read because it’s so engrossing. Just don’t let the sadness here and there bog you down, because much of it is fun and very enjoyable. The imperfectionists is at the very top of my re-read list!

This is how and what I strive to write. Rushdie, Franzen, Nabokov, Flaubert, and now Rachman. I’m so glad he’s a new author–he’ll definitely be worth watching!!!

Now, off to Camp to work on my own novel–yay! And I’m glad Friday by Robert A. Heinlein is my next read because it’s a fun, adventure sci-fi that definitely won’t compete with this book but will be a great easy read. Plus, I’ll report on Infinite Jest next time, which I’m still slogging through!


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