Sunday, 30 May 2010

Book of the Week - Tom Rachman, The Imperfectionists

The Imperfectionists is a first novel from journalist Tom Rachman, set against the background of a struggling newspaper in Rome. The true first edition was the Australian paperback, but the UK edition (from Quercus) is the first hardcover and was published around the beginning of March. There have been plenty of very positive reviews in Australia, the UK and the USA. Signed copies of the UK edition have not become available yet, and may be worth holding out for. Rachman was born in 1974 in London, but grew up in Vancouver. He studied cinema at the University of Toronto and completed a Master's degree in journalism at Columbia University in New York. From 1998, he worked as an editor at the foreign desk of The Associated Press in New York, then did a stint as a reporter in India and Sri Lanka, before returning to New York. In 2002, he was sent to Rome as an AP correspondent, with assignments taking him to Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt. Beginning in 2006, he worked part-time as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris to support himself while writing fiction. He now lives in Rome, where he is working on his second novel.

“The English-language newspaper was founded in Rome in the 1950s, a product of passion and a multi-millionaire s fancy. Over fifty years, its eccentricities earned a place in readers hearts around the globe. But now, circulation is down, the paper lacks a website, and the future looks bleak.
Still, those involved in the publication seem to barely notice. The obituary writer is too busy avoiding work. The editor-in-chief is pondering sleeping with an old flame. The obsessive reader is intent on finishing every old edition, leaving her trapped in the past. And the dog-crazy publisher seems less interested in his struggling newspaper than in his magnificent basset hound, Schopenhauer.
The Imperfectionists interweaves the stories of eleven unusual and endearing characters who depend on the paper. Often at odds, they are united when the focus of their lives begins to fall apart. Funny and moving, the novel is about endings the end of life, the end of sexual desire, the end of the era of newspapers and about what might rise afterward.”

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