Wednesday, August 04, 2010

THE IMPERFECTIONISTS, Tom Rachman


THE IMPERFECTIONISTS is a debut novel that reads like the work of an experienced master of the genre. Is it me or are first novels growing stronger all the time? Perhaps since Mr. Rachman is himself a journalist and editor he is following that sage advice to write about what you know.

More like a series of short stories than a traditional novel, THE IMPERFECTIONISTS tells the stories of some of the personnel at a small newspaper in Rome. Here we have the story of the copy editor, a reporter, a stringer, the editor in chief and various other personnel including a devoted reader. A sort of Canterbury Tales.

In between these delightful, insightful, humorous and sometimes painful personal and intersecting stories, we also get the story of the Ott family, the newspaper's founders and how the family eventually slid into obscurity and the newspaper folded.

It is hard not to swoon over such a elegant writer. Each story is original and very much written with its own tone. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

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16 comments:

George said...

I'll seek this out on the strength of your intriguing review, Patti.

Fleur Bradley: said...

It's going on my list. Sounds great.

Jenn Jilks said...

Nicely done! There are times and places for short stories. My brain seems to forget the beginnings of novels these days!

I'll put this on my 'to read' list! I read another you recommended. Can't remember the title. Man, old age... :-)
cheers

Scott Parker said...

You hooked me on "Rome." You had me on "Canterbury Tales." I really like interconnected stories like CT and the SF book Hyperion. This one landed on the To Read List.

Keri Mikulski said...

Wow. what a review! Thanks. :) I'll definitely have to check out THE IMPERFECTIONTS. :)

Anonymous said...

Patti - Thanks for this terrific review! This really does sound like a great read. You raise an interesting question, too: are debut novels getting stronger? Hmmm....I'll have to think about that.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Solid review. As a former reporter, I always enjoy reading about other people still in the field. I'll be sure to check this out.

MP said...

I read this a couple of months ago and really enjoyed it. But here's something weird. How many books of related short stories have you ever read? They're pretty rare--I've read maybe five, max, in my whole life. Yet in addition to this one I've read another one recently that's quite honestly the best thing I've read this year--Jennifer Egan's "A Visit From the Goon Squad". I think you're dead right about first novels getting better. Could we also be seeing a renaissance in this very rare literary form?

Sarah Laurence said...

This book is in my to read stack, my latest purchase. Thanks for the reminder to read it without giving anything away. Great review!

Lucy said...

You had me at "Rome". :o)

Thanks for the review.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That goes right on my list, MP.
Day for Night also out recently has connected stories, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think debut novels are almost having to get stronger to stand out from the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That does sound intriguing - love the setting, too! Yes, it does seem like the bar has been raised for all writers and debut novels are really strong now.

Stacy said...

Oh, that sounds really good! I loved linked short stories.

Barrie said...

"I cannot recommend this book highly enough." High praise indeed! I love a good book of short stories. So, I'm sold on two counts now. ;) Thank you, Patti!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Patti, wow, you really enjoyed this book. Sounds well worth reading.