Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Even in a dying industry, workers feel reverence for their duties

This is a sweet though uneven short story collection, however, it feels rather bogus to market this as a novel.  The book is about different employees at a boutique English language newspaper in Rome and how they struggle with betrayals, of fate, of love, of parenthood.  The stories are best when they are about human foibles, about people believing what they want to believe, no matter what.  I learned the most from the eccentrics.  The worst story was the one set in Egypt with a perfectly ridiculous blowhard character.  The best and most complex stories were in the first half, I think.

I was consistently interested in the characters, never bored.   All the characters are wrapped up in their own issues, never realizing this job, which means so much to all of them, is disappearing. This was an easy read.

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