The Imperfectionists: A Novel (Paperback)
Summer '11 Reading Group List
“While the quirky characters behind the headlines get front-page treatment in this moving and finely-crafted novel, it is also a valentine to the struggling newspaper business and the seemingly endangered species of editors and journalists who try to produce quality journalism. Ripe for discussion!”
— Molly Young, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
From the author of The Italian Teacher, this acclaimed debut novel set in Rome follows the topsy-turvy lives of the denizens of an English language newspaper.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Janet Maslin, The New York Times • The Economist • NPR • Slate • The Christian Science Monitor • Financial Times • The Plain Dealer • Minneapolis Star Tribune • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Kansas City Star • The Globe and Mail • Publishers Weekly
Look in the back of the book for a conversation between Tom Rachman and Malcolm Gladwell
Fifty years and many changes have ensued since the paper was founded by an enigmatic millionaire, and now, amid the stained carpeting and dingy office furniture, the staff’s personal dramas seem far more important than the daily headlines. Kathleen, the imperious editor in chief, is smarting from a betrayal in her open marriage; Arthur, the lazy obituary writer, is transformed by a personal tragedy; Abby, the embattled financial officer, discovers that her job cuts and her love life are intertwined in a most unexpected way. Out in the field, a veteran Paris freelancer goes to desperate lengths for his next byline, while the new Cairo stringer is mercilessly manipulated by an outrageous war correspondent with an outsize ego. And in the shadows is the isolated young publisher who pays more attention to his prized basset hound, Schopenhauer, than to the fate of his family’s quirky newspaper.
As the era of print news gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions.
Spirited, moving, and highly original, The Imperfectionists will establish Tom Rachman as one of our most perceptive, assured literary talents.
About the Author
Tom Rachman was born in London and raised in Vancouver. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Columbia School of Journalism, he has been a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, stationed in Rome. From 2006 to 2008, he worked as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He lives in Rome.
“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 hanging 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 Inquirer