"The chapters read like exquisite short stories....[T]here 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." (starred review)
"THE IMPERFECTIONISTS is a precise, playful fiction, with a deep but lightly worn intelligence. the author's experience working in Europe for the Associated Press and the International Herald Tribune is evident here in an insider's humorous eye for the workings of a newspaper."
"This first novel by Tom Rachman...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, and it's assembled like a Rubik's Cube. I almost feel sorry for Rachman, because a debut of this order sets the bar so high."
"Rachman has created a series of vividly memorable characters. His writing is usually sharp, controlled, and absorbing. It is a fine debut."
"THE IMPERFECTIONISTS is about what happens when professionals realize that their craft no longer has meaning in the world's eyes (think of all those hardworking monk-scribes idled by Gutenberg) and that the only people who really understand them are on the same foundering ship, and that, come to think of it, they really loved that damn ship for all it made their lives hell."
From the Publisher
Tom Rachman, a former editor at the Paris branch of the International Herald Tribune, uses his experiences to wonderful effect in his debut novel, a sprawling book that vividly portrays a motley crew of characters working at an English-language newspaper in Rome. Told in interlocking vignettes, THE IMPERFECTIONISTS presents an eccentric ensemble cast, including a tyrannical editor-in-chief wounded by her open marriage, an indolent obituary writer shocked into self-awareness by a death in his own life, a feckless publisher who allows his family business to fall into ruin, and a fresh-from-college kid who realizes he can't hack it in the reporter profession. Each story is fresh and fully realized in its own right, and the cumulative effect is an evocative depiction of a frenzied and eccentric industry in danger of extinction due to the rise of the internet. Selected by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2010 and by Publishers Weekly as a 2010 Top 100 Book.
Preoccupied by personal challenges while running a struggling English-language newspaper in Rome, an obituary writer confronts mortality, an eccentric publisher obsesses over his basset hound and other staff members uncover the paper's founding by an impulsive millionaire. A first novel. (General fiction).