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Not in the least. Perhaps even, as I did, twice.

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

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Book Review: The Imperfectionists — a novel by Tom Rachman — So Misguided

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A touch uneven, thankfully the weaker pieces are back-loaded. Thoughts gather and scatter from Fleet Street. Nods abound to Waugh and Michael Frayn. It is a worthy screed. Notice is given for the present peril.

Review: The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman

I've bought this for several people I care about. I feel a bit ambivalent about this book, which relates vignettes from the lives of several people connected to an international newspaper based in Rome. On the one hand, it is a very dark, depressing collection of related human stories, which offers little in the way of redemption for its cast of 'Imperfectionists'. On the other hand, it is quite well-written, and provides a thought-provoking fictional take on the world of newspapers, a world which has always interested me.

The book has been described as a comedy, but the humour in it tends towards the bittersweet. Rachman does not pull punches in describing the depressing reality of his characters. I would not say that he takes pleasure in demeaning his characters, but he does seem to have a bleak take on life. Despite this, I did laugh out loud a few times.

For example, this quote from the first story of the paper's young Cairo stringer, Winston, had me guffawing: 'As he spoke, the yellow Egyptian sun shone very brightly, as if that golden sphere were blazing with the very hope for peace in the Middle East that burned also within the heart of the Palestinian undersecretary for sports, fishing, and wildlife. The situation in the Middle East also does not gel that well with humour. Winston, for instance, also has an embarrassing encounter in the marketplace when he tries to elicit comments on his story by approaching a women wearing a burka, touching her, and asking her about terrorism.

Needless to say, this does not turn out well for poor Winston.

The Imperfectionists: A Novel Summary & Study Guide Description

As I said, the prose is good, and the structure works quite well. Should one condemn the book for its extreme pessimism, however? I do not think so, even though I disliked what happened to some of the characters for whom I was pulling. There is a Thomas Hardy element to this bleakness of vision, though it is obviously not a traditionally Hardyesque book. The book bears a family resemblance to Evelyn Waugh's black humour.

The obvious comparison would be to his Scoop, which I unfortunately have not read as yet.

All said, I can understand the antipathy some readers feel towards this book. I do not share that dislike for the book, but I also did not love it. It left me feeling disheartened about the future of publishing, and about the human condition in general. There is a glimmer of hope at the end of the book, but you have to squint to see it. Not a book I would recommend to depressives.

But it is quite good. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason.

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There was a problem with saving your item s for later. You can go to cart and save for later there. The Imperfectionists : A Novel. Average rating: 3. Tom Rachman. Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. 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.

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.