Author: Tom Rachman
Country: USA (the publisher is American, the author, British)
Genre: Journalism – Drama – Romance (a bit of many genres, I would say)
After years of working as a journalist all over the world, Tom Rachman decided to start writing fiction. His debut novel The Imperfectionists proved very successful, and soon it was included in the New York Times bestseller list.
What first called my attention about this book is the original way in which is structured. Every chapter is about a different character related to the newspaper, like a reporter, an editor or even a reader. And at the end of each, you also get to read one or two pages telling the history of the newspaper in flashbacks. It may sound kind of convoluted, but it’s not that you get lost while reading the book. Actually, I think that this unusual structure is what makes The Imperfectionists so interesting. At the beginning, it looks like a bunch of unrelated stories that just happened to be in the same book, but then a protagonist from one chapter is mentioned somewhere else, and as this keeps occurring you start finding out how all the characters are connected to each other. And I love that.
Though there is a sort of red line throughout the book, plot plays just a secondary role in it. The most important feature of the novel is instead, characterization. Rachman really did a great job portraying all the characters, so that you know everything about their personalities. You know the way they think, the way they talk and the way they see other people. You know their fears, insecurities and goals in life. And the best thing about it is that the author is so good he doesn’t even tell you these things directly, and still, you know them.
A reviewer said in the Financial Times, “each chapter is so finely wrought that it could stand alone as a memorable short story”. And I have to say I couldn’t agree more. Among my favourite chapters are the ones about Arthur Gopal, Abbey Pinnola and Ornella de Monterecchi. I like Arthur Gopal’s because I love the relationship between him and his daughter Pickle (what a funny name, by the way), and there is a very interesting conversation with a person Arthur interviews. Abbey Pinnola’s chapter is very entertaining despite the fact that it takes place mostly in an airplane, and it is amusing the way Abbey changes the way she sees people according to what is convinient for her. But the one I liked most was Ornella de Monterecchi’s, who doesn’t work for the newspaper, but reads every single daily edition of it, from the beginning to the end. It is not a just a habit. It is an obsession, from which she’s unable to escape.
To sum up, I think The Imperfectionists is absolutely worth-reading. Especially for being so original. Besides, this is the kind of book I like reading twice, so that I can pay more attention to all the things I overlooked the first time I read it. And, of course, to enjoy such a delightful book once again. ☎
– Written by GuadiRC –