Rome is the setting for some quirky characters and an English language newspaper around which eleven short stories are based. The book is the Imperfectionists and it is the first one by English born Tom Rachman. The author was raised in Vancouver and spent his professional life as a journalist. He was stationed in Rome when he worked for the Associated Press, and lived in Paris, where he was editor for the International Herald Tribune.
The description of the book reads as follows:
The English-language newspaper was founded in Rome in the 1950s, a product of passion and a multi-millionaire s fancy. Over fifty years, its eccentricities earned a place in readers hearts around the globe. But now, circulation is down, the paper lacks a website, and the future looks bleak.
Still, those involved in the publication seem to barely notice. The obituary writer is too busy avoiding work. The editor-in-chief is pondering sleeping with an old flame. The obsessive reader is intent on finishing every old edition, leaving her trapped in the past. And the dog-crazy publisher seems less interested in his struggling newspaper than in his magnificent basset hound, Schopenhauer.
There have already been some reviews: DJ Taylor wrote in the Guardian: “Anyone who has ever spent time in newspaperland will recognise The Imperfectionists’ high degree of authenticity. So – you hope – will quite a few people beyond it.
Jonathan Sale at the Independent is a little punchier with his opinion. ‘Tom Rachman has worked as a foreign correspondent and his characters, although exaggerated, ring only too true. To avoid former colleagues who might recognise themselves, he would be best advised to stick to the novel writing. They might take a dim view of the hackette’s sneering verdict that “Journalism is a bunch of dorks pretending to be alpha males.”‘
Finally, Charlie Buckley at the Scotsman is a little more positive than the other two: “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”.
The hardback version was published in March 2010 and the paperback is due to be released in September of this year.
If you do end up reading it then please let me know what you thought. I will do the same when I get a chance to read it.