Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review - The Imperfectionists

I finished my first novel of 2011 last night, and it was a very good one - Tom Rachman's The Imperfectionists (2010). It is the story of a declining English language newspaper published in Rome, struggling to hang on in the fading landscape of print journalism. It is mostly set in 2007, but each chapter of the main story is separated by a few pages devoted to various snippets of time from the founding of the paper up through its demise at the end of the book.

The way the book is constructed is interesting, and reminded me in some ways of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge, insofar as each chapter in this book is about one character. However, in this case, no two chapters are about the same character. The result is a feeling of reading a short story collection where each story has the same general setting and the characters overlap in some ways. I suspect that any chapter in this book could probably be read on a standalone basis and be a good read.

Rachman's prose is effortless, although I did not find myself tagging quotes as I often do.

4.5 stars out of 5 - an excellent start to the reading year.

Books read in 2011: 1
Pubished in 2011: none
New authors: 1
Classics: none

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