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3 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers

by

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers Cover

ISBN13: 9780679643654
ISBN10: 0679643656
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

Tom Rachman has an uncanny ability to create well-developed and fully realized characters. His debut novel, The Imperfectionists, was a staff favorite here, and I have no doubt that his follow-up, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, will prove just as popular. It has a wonderful sense of time and place ('88 Bangkok, '99 New York, and '11 Wales) and a great cast of characters (Tooly, Venn, Humphrey). On the last page, I felt lucky to have met these newfound friends but sad to say goodbye.
Recommended by Shawn Donley, Powells.com

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers has a wonderful sense of time and place ('88 Bangkok, '99 New York, '11 Wales) and a great cast of characters (Tooly, Venn, Humphrey). On the last page, I felt lucky to have met these newfound friends but sad to say goodbye.
Recommended by Shawn D., Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For fans of Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, and Donna Tartt — the brilliant, intricately woven new novel by Tom Rachman, author of The Imperfectionists.

Following one of the most critically acclaimed fiction debuts in years, New York Times bestselling author Tom Rachman returns with a brilliant, intricately woven novel about a young woman who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past.

Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth, which mystify and worry her still.

Taken from home as a girl, Tooly found herself spirited away by a group of seductive outsiders, implicated in capers from Asia to Europe to the United States. But who were her abductors? Why did they take her? What did they really want? There was Humphrey, the curmudgeonly Russian with a passion for reading; there was the charming but tempestuous Sarah, who sowed chaos in her wake; and there was Venn, the charismatic leader whose worldview transformed Tooly forever. Until, quite suddenly, he disappeared.

Years later, Tooly believes she will never understand the true story of her own life. Then startling news arrives from a long-lost boyfriend in New York, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search of answers.

Tom Rachman — an author celebrated for humanity, humor, and wonderful characters — has produced a stunning novel that reveals the tale not just of one woman but of the past quarter-century as well, from the end of the Cold War to the dominance of American empire to the digital revolution of today. Leaping between decades, and from Bangkok to Brooklyn, this is a breathtaking novel about long-buried secrets and how we must choose to make our own place in the world. It will confirm Rachman’s reputation as one of the most exciting young writers we have.

Review:

"Rachman follows up the debut success of The Imperfectionists with a suspenseful novel that whisks readers around the world, from Sydney to Bangkok to New York. This coming-of-age story focuses on the life of fiercely independent late-bloomer Tooly Zylberberg, who, in her early 30s, opens a ramshackle bookstore in the small Welsh town of Caergenog. Jumping between three decades, the global-scale mystery surrounding Tooly slowly unravels. It begins in 2011, when Tooly's ex-boyfriend contacts her about her dying former caretaker, whom he believes is her father. The novel weaves a critique of modern society through Tooly's odyssey, with a cast of characters grappling with the mundane realities of the 21st century. The novel loses steam toward the end, but the journey is still worth taking. Agent: Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Agency. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

“When a Tom Rachman novel lands in the bookstores, I stop living and breathing to devour it. It’s hard to think of anyone who has a better grasp on the world we live in (and I mean, like, the entire planet) and can write about it with such entertainment and panache.” Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure

Review:

“The haunting tale of a young woman reassessing her turbulent past...brilliantly structured, beautifully written.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

“Rachman’s kaleidoscopic second novel demonstrates that one’s family is very often made up of the people you find and who find you along the way.” Booklist

About the Author

Tom Rachman was born in London in 1974 and raised in Vancouver. He attended the University of Toronto and Columbia Journalism School, then worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in New York and Rome and for the International Herald Tribune in Paris. His first novel, The Imperfectionists, was an international bestseller, translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

barbjg, October 20, 2014 (view all comments by barbjg)
Loved this book- Rachman's characters are believable and (mostly) likeable. An addictive storyline keeps you reading long past what's good for you. A must-read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
techeditor, October 10, 2014 (view all comments by techeditor)
THE RISE AND FALL OF GREAT POWERS--maybe by the end of this book that title is explained. I'll never know, though, because I can't get past page 103. Although this book has received many great reviews, I disliked it before I got to page 50. I read further because of those reviews.

This seems to be one story told, at various points, in 2011 or 1999 or 1988. The only reason the story is "mysterious," as other reviews have described it, is because we skip around from one of those years to another. I wouldn't call it mysterious, though; I'd call it disjointed. Plus, by page 103, Rachman still hasn't explained what is going on.

Perhaps it isn't fair to review a book that I haven't entirely read. But it looks like other readers had the same problem with it that I did, so I'm joining in to agree.

That makes me wonder how many others had this experience with THE RISE AND FALL OF GREAT POWERS; thousands? Will those people, like me, never want to read this author's books again? Perhaps all authors should heed this advice: get to the point soon before you lose your readers.

I won this book as an advanced reader's edition from Random House.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780679643654
Author:
Rachman, Tom
Publisher:
Dial Press
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20140531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
400

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Staff Favorites
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » New Arrivals
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Featured Titles

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers Used Hardcover
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Dial Press - English 9780679643654 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Tom Rachman has an uncanny ability to create well-developed and fully realized characters. His debut novel, The Imperfectionists, was a staff favorite here, and I have no doubt that his follow-up, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, will prove just as popular. It has a wonderful sense of time and place ('88 Bangkok, '99 New York, and '11 Wales) and a great cast of characters (Tooly, Venn, Humphrey). On the last page, I felt lucky to have met these newfound friends but sad to say goodbye.

"Staff Pick" by ,

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers has a wonderful sense of time and place ('88 Bangkok, '99 New York, '11 Wales) and a great cast of characters (Tooly, Venn, Humphrey). On the last page, I felt lucky to have met these newfound friends but sad to say goodbye.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Rachman follows up the debut success of The Imperfectionists with a suspenseful novel that whisks readers around the world, from Sydney to Bangkok to New York. This coming-of-age story focuses on the life of fiercely independent late-bloomer Tooly Zylberberg, who, in her early 30s, opens a ramshackle bookstore in the small Welsh town of Caergenog. Jumping between three decades, the global-scale mystery surrounding Tooly slowly unravels. It begins in 2011, when Tooly's ex-boyfriend contacts her about her dying former caretaker, whom he believes is her father. The novel weaves a critique of modern society through Tooly's odyssey, with a cast of characters grappling with the mundane realities of the 21st century. The novel loses steam toward the end, but the journey is still worth taking. Agent: Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Agency. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , “When a Tom Rachman novel lands in the bookstores, I stop living and breathing to devour it. It’s hard to think of anyone who has a better grasp on the world we live in (and I mean, like, the entire planet) and can write about it with such entertainment and panache.”
"Review" by , “The haunting tale of a young woman reassessing her turbulent past...brilliantly structured, beautifully written.”
"Review" by , “Rachman’s kaleidoscopic second novel demonstrates that one’s family is very often made up of the people you find and who find you along the way.”
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