Lisa's Reviews > The Imperfectionists

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
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's review
Mar 31, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: favorites
Read from January 20 to 29, 2012

An interesting read, especially since my father was something of a newspaper man. Not an international newspaper man, by any stretch of the imagination, just a reporter and then the editor of our local newspaper for a time when I was a child, but still...I remember listening to him express the language and concerns of journalism when I was growing up. For that reason alone, I think, The Imperfectionists had a nostalgic appeal to me. I didn't particularly like my father, but I did like the idea of journalism. [Now that I think of it, the fact that I didn't particularly like my father may have actually added to my empathy with and enjoyment of the wonky relationships and dysfunctional individuals depicted in The Imperfectionists.]

You'll enjoy this book if you're a fan of books created from a string of loosely-connected (but connected nonetheless) vignettes rather than Point-A to Point-B plots. I happen to like vignette-y books. The characters in this one are well-crafted, interesting, and in some cases even morbidly fascinating. You're also likely to enjoy this book if you're nostalgic about the "good old days" of print media or have romantic notions about the lives of journalists living and reporting overseas. (Depending on how you choose to interpret the word 'romantic,' those notions will either be smashed or edified by this read).

One thing Rachman does that I particularly appreciate and applaud -- he leaves things unsaid, allows the reader to connect the dots for themselves, and gives the reader credit for being smart enough to do so. He uses a subtle hand that I think many contemporary novels are lacking (god, how I hate ham-fisted writing).

So yeah...about 4.5 stars for this one. And even though he was something of a jerk, I wish my dad were alive to read this book. I think he'd have dug it.
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