Mr. Rachman, a former journalist, knows and loves the myopia of his old profession, the gallows humor of its practitioners and the precariousness of the business to which they devote their lives. Armed with this knowledge and somehow free of the fashionable diffidence that too often plagues fiction about the workplace, he has written a rich, thrilling book that is both love letter to and epitaph for the newspaper world.... The Imperfectionists is a splendid original, filled with wit and structured so ingeniously that figuring out where the author is headed is half the reader's fun. The other half comes from his sparkling descriptions not only of newspaper office denizens but of the tricks of their trade, presented in language that is smartly satirical yet brimming with affection.
Janet Maslin - New York Times
This first novel by Tom Rachman, a London-born journalist who has lived and worked all over the world, is so good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off. I still haven't answered that question, nor do I know how someone so young...could have acquired such a precocious grasp of human foibles. The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it's assembled like a Rubik's Cube. I almost feel sorry for Rachman, because a debut of this order sets the bar so high.
Christopher Buckley - New York Times Book Review
The Imperfectionists is about what happens when professionals realize that their craft no longer has meaning in the world's eyes…and that the only people who really understand them are on the same foundering ship, and that, come to think of it, they really loved that damn ship for all it made their lives hell.... Rachman is a fine observer and a funny writer—and a writer who knows how to be funny in character.
Louis Bayard - Washington Post
(Starred review.) In his zinger of a debut, Rachman deftly applies his experience as foreign correspondent and editor to chart the goings-on at a scrappy English-language newspaper in Rome.... As the ragtag staff faces down the implications of the paper's tilt into oblivion, there are more than enough sublime moments, unexpected turns and sheer inky wretchedness to warrant putting this on the shelf next to other great newspaper novels
With its evocative Italian setting and its timely handling of an industry in flux, this polished, sophisticated debut can be relished in one sitting or read piecemeal as a satisfying series of vignettes linked by historical references to the Ott family empire. Buy it, read it, talk it up. —Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL
Characters range from a kid just out of college who learns the hard way that he doesn't want to be a reporter, to an Italian diplomat's widow. Some are instantly sympathetic, others hard to like. Each is vivid and compelling in his or her own way. The individual stories work well independently, even better as the author skillfully weaves them together.... [A] very strong debut. Funny, humane and artful.
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