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The Rise and Fall of Great Powersby Tom Rachman
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.
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.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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.
“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
“The haunting tale of a young woman reassessing her turbulent past...brilliantly structured, beautifully written.” Kirkus Reviews (starred 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.
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