Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Review: The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Book Review:  The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385343663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385343664

  • Why did a wealthy businessman leave his family to establish a middling international paper in Rome?  That question is only answered conclusively in the final pages of The Imperfectionists, an astonishing and heartbreaking look at the flaws, hidden emotions and unseen selves of everyday people.  
  • Each chapter reveals the true heart of someone associated with the newspaper, until, by the end of the story, we know more about each of them than the coworkers they see every day could ever guess, more than the characters are able to express, more than they may even understand about themselves.  The threads of loneliness, grief, isolation and insecurity running through these lives make the occasional glimpses of joy, connection and fulfillment all the more precious.  
  • Why do people do the things they do?  What is wrong with that bitter, raging coworker or the eccentric elderly lady who won't throw out her old newspapers?  When it comes to human behavior, so much depends on experiences and motivations the world never sees.  Ultimately, this book is a reminder to heed Plato's advice and "be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a hard battle."  
Rachman shows incredible kindness toward his characters; we feel for them and wish them happiness, as much as they can manage.  

  • *Genre: Brilliant literary fiction
  • *Read it if:  you love great characters, great writing, or Rome
  • *Skip it if:  you dislike feeling emotions
  • *Movie-Worthy: it would make a great indie film!

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