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The Imperfectionists: A Novel Paperback – Jan. 4 2011

3.6 out of 5 stars 433 ratings

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Review

“Marvelous … A rich, thrilling book that is both a love letter to and epitaph for the newspaper world…Mr. Rachman’s transition from journalism to fiction writing is nothing short of spectacular. The Imperfectionists is a splendid original, filled with wit and structured so ingeniously that figuring out where the author is headed is half the reader’s fun. The other half comes from his sparkling descriptions not only of newspaper office denizens but of the tricks of their trade, presented in language that is smartly satirical yet brimming with affection.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"This first novel by Tom Rachman, a London-born journalist who has lived and worked all over the world, is 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 (Front-Page Review)

"[An] acute debut…[Rachman] paints the characters’ small dramas and private disappointments with humanity and humor."
The New Yorker

“[A] beguiling first novel…One by one these journalists are trotted through their tragicomic hamster wheels…Rachman [is] always finding new ways to surprise us.”
Washington Post

“Charming. .. . The print newspaper may be an endangered species, but the newsroom - with its deadlines, quirky characters and investigative crusades - still makes for a good story.”
—New York Newsday
 
“Laced with humor, irony and compassion. . . . some of the chapters are absolute gems.”
—Dallas Morning News
 
The Imperfectionists will make you laugh and cry. It's the rare novel that can shift emotional tone effortlessly . . . Magnificent.”
Seattle Post Intelligencer
 
“Rachman has created a series of vividly memorable characters.”
The Boston Globe

“Rachman is an admirable stylist. 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
 
“In his zinger of a debut, Rachman deftly applies his experience as foreign correspondent and editor to chart the goings-on at a scrappy English-language newspaper in Rome. Chapters read like exquisite short stories, As the ragtag staff faces down the implications of the paper's tilt into oblivion, there are more than enough sublime moments, unexpected turns and sheer inky wretchedness to warrant putting this on the shelf next to other great newspaper novels.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
“A very strong debut. Funny, humane and artful”
Kirkus Reviews

"[A] polished, sophisticated debut"
Library Journal 

 "Elegiac and bitter, funny and shocking.  A group portrait of fascinating characters with nothing in common but their dedication to a doomed idea.  I loved it."
—Arthur Phillips, author of Prague and The Song Is You

"Tom Rachman is absolutely a writer to watch, with the ingenious knack of getting under the skin of his characters.  The Imperfectionists offers a witty, poignant glimpse into the universe of expatriates living in Rome, and the dreams, stress, and melodrama of a small newspaper. Rachman is clearly at home in these worlds, and his portrait is alternately hilarious, sad, intensely human, and always spot-on in its accuracy."
—Andrea Lee, author of Lost Hearts in Italy

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.

Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5
433 customer ratings
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Reviewed in Canada on July 6, 2015
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Reviewed in Canada on August 7, 2011
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Reviewed in Canada on February 15, 2011
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Reviewed in Canada on October 29, 2013
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Top international reviews

M. J. WESTON
4.0 out of 5 stars pleasantly surprised
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2012
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Ezequiel Bosch G.
2.0 out of 5 stars Tediously negative characters
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2012
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JS
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I'd hoped
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 24, 2013
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Orla Billen
4.0 out of 5 stars all human life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2014
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Bernard Morris
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 1, 2017
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bernaamaro
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2015
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a page turner
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 30, 2017
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 21, 2016
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karen
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 23, 2014
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William Jordan
2.0 out of 5 stars clever but slight vignettes
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 13, 2011
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HansBlog
4.0 out of 5 stars Ein Glitzerbonbon von einem Roman
Reviewed in Germany on January 25, 2015
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Ate Heck
5.0 out of 5 stars Einfach perfekt!
Reviewed in Germany on January 22, 2016
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Armalite
2.0 out of 5 stars Des personnages pathétiques à l'histoire déprimante
Reviewed in France on August 1, 2014
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MG
3.0 out of 5 stars gut geschriebener Verfall
Reviewed in Germany on December 16, 2012
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Sandy, Italy
4.0 out of 5 stars The imperfectionists
Reviewed in Italy on February 2, 2017
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