- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
This item may be
Check for Availability
This title in other editions
The Imperfectionists: A Novel
Synopses & Reviews
Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman's wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English language newspaper as they struggle to keep it - and themselves - afloat.
Fifty years and many changes have ensued since the paper was founded by an enigmatic millionaire, and now, amid the stained carpeting and dingy office furniture, the staff's personal dramas seem far more important than the daily headlines. Kathleen, the imperious editor in chief, is smarting from a betrayal in her open marriage; Arthur, the lazy obituary writer, is transformed by a personal tragedy; Abby, the embattled financial officer, discovers that her job cuts and her love life are intertwined in a most unexpected way. Out in the field, a veteran Paris freelancer goes to desperate lengths for his next byline, while the new Cairo stringer is mercilessly manipulated by an outrageous war correspondent with an outsize ego. And in the shadows is the isolated young publisher who pays more attention to his prized basset hound, Schopenhauer, than to the fate of his family's quirky newspaper.
As the era of print news gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper's rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder's intentions.
Spirited, moving, and highly original, The Imperfectionists will establish Tom Rachman as one of our most perceptive, assured literary talents.
About the Author
1. How did you feel when you encountered a protagonist from one chapter in a different key somewhere else? Did these moments ever catch you by surprise?
2. Why do you think Cyrus Ott started his newspaper? Why do you think his family kept it going?
3. Do you think Hardy Benjamin made the right decision to ignore the theft she uncovered? And which is more important in a relationship: love or honesty?
4. Is there a lesson to be learned in the story of Arthur Gopal's rise through the ranks?
5. What do you think kept Ruby Zaga in her job all those years? Is her persistence admirable?
6. At one point Herman Cohen muses: "All this had been a most extraordinary surprise; he had expected an unhappy life, yet ended up with the opposite." What do you think accounts for his happy fate? Is it luck, or something else?
7. Do you think someone like the war correspondent Rich Snyder might gain fame and recognition despite his bad behavior - or because of how he behaves? Would you rather be Snyder or Winston Cheung?
8. Do you see traits of any of the characters in people you've worked with?
9. How did the Roman setting inform the reading experience of The Imperfectionists? What do you think it would be like to be an expatriate?
10. What do you think the future holds for the newspaper? How has the way you receive news day to day changed in recent years?
What Our Readers Are Saying