The Imperfectionists

What can I really say about The Imperfectionists that hasn’t already been said by countless reviewers?  Tom Rachman’s debut novel, published in 2010 was lauded by many readers, critics, and reviewers in literary circles.

The Imperfectionists, is a novel about an international newspaper published in Rome, and the people who keep it going – editors, journalists,  accountants, publishers, etc.

Each chapter, with a witty byline for a title, features one of the staff members of the paper, and their current life situations; their status in the newspaper, their challenges at work, the circumstances behind their employment.  The seemingly random bits and pieces of a character’s life presented in each chapter gives readers a glimpse of that character’s personality, beliefs, joys, and insecurities.

At the end of each chapter, readers are presented with the evolution of the newspaper, from its creation and humble beginnings in the 1950’s to its present-day fate.

The book, with its different chapters devoted to the staff members of the newspaper, is more like a collection of short stories, rather than a full-length novel, with the exception that it has a unifying theme, which is the newspaper.

The novel features the stories of 9 staff members, 1 publisher, and the paper’s most devoted reader, and although the narratives are light, and in some cases, humorous, there is an underlying sadness throughout the book, which readers will notice early on.

Because it is not really a plot-driven novel, for me, it is the type of novel you can stop reading anytime, and pick-up again, when you remember it.  There is no urgency to it, and it can be read at a leisurely pace.  Though each chapter drew me in to the private lives of the paper’s staff, and I enjoyed the different stories, I felt that the overall novel, was neither amazing, nor unforgettable.  


The Imperfectionists (2010) – Tom Rachman

Quercus Books

Personal rating:  3/5

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