So, the review of Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists in the New York Times Book Review has A+ branded all over it. Have I been choosing the wrong books to read lately? I feel as though I haven’t come across a 5-out-of-5 book for sometime now. Hm. Rachman’s first novel hasn’t been distastefully written but it’ll take more than 270 pages to persuade me otherwise. Similar to the previous book I read, The Imperfectionists delves into the culture and politics of a mid-sized company: an international newspaper (which only means it’s written in English) headquartered in Rome. There are eleven characters who are one way or another connected to the newspaper. I’m not a big fan of reading a myriad of “unconnected” short stories miraculously coming together by the end of a single story because of the lack of character development and the degree to which I can become attached to them. But Rachman integrates an italicized excerpt at the end of each story, which attempts to hold all the stories as a single entity. Each character (including a reporter, E-in-C, a devout subscriber, publisher, etc.) brings a rather unique and dynamic personality palette & life experiences to the table. But it’s everywhere. Some stories are funny, some sentimental, satirical, etc. The individual stories illustrate an imperfection or flaw or weakness of the characters and attempt to create a bigger understanding that 1) human nature is nothing near perfect and 2) life goes on in spite all the imperfections. I may be giving a rather harsh rating due to my personal preferences of writing styles but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other readers did.
dee’s rec: 2/5