I know, I did say “no more book reviews until November” – but what’s a bookworm to do? After my post on giving up on a novel too ambitious for my dissertation-wrecked brain, I just have to say at least a few words about the awesomeness that is Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists. Because contrary to its title, if you’re looking for a smart, entertaining read this book is, let me tell you, perfection.
The Imperfectionists is the story of an English-speaking newspaper based in Rome, or rather, of those who are connected with the paper: staff, the publisher, and a reader. From the aging Paris correspondent to the accounts manager, they each get a chapter in which we learn about their endearingly imperfect lives and personalities. Even more imperfect, though, is the state of the paper, whose ambitious editor-in-chief Kathleen is trying hard to keep afloat (Kathleen has her own chapter fittingly entitled “U.S. General Optimistic on War”) . The story of the paper is told in intercalated snippets between the ‘people’ chapters, beginning in the 1950s. The book is basically an assembly of short stories that come together as you read on, kind of like a puzzle. By the end, I had a vivid picture of the paper’s world in my mind.
Above all else, I was looking for a good read in The Imperfectionists, and that is exactly what I got. From tragic to hilarious, the characters captured me so much I wanted to stay on my train to work just to be able to read on. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m a newspaper geek and wanted to be a journalist when I was a teenager. So don’t take it from me, read it for yourselves.
Evaluation: 10/10 (the 10th point is entirely personal, for completely distracting me from my dissertation while reading)
German title: Die Unperfekten
Spanish title: Los imperfeccionistas