Many times, simple yet not-so-perfect situations take most of our time and energy in wanting to put things right. This exactly is the premise of Tom Rachman’s – The Imperfectionists.
Set in Rome, Italy, The Imperfectionists is about the inter-connected lives of the staff of an English newspaper which is on the brink of a shutdown.
With this, begins the almost tiresome yet captivating, dull yet witty, short stories on the personal lives of the journalists of this newspaper firm.
The correspondent Llyod Burko who has married 4 times and is struggling to make a living which his articles are clearly not capable of. He is on the verge of betraying his son, the only one of his kids who hasn’t left him. Arthur Gopal, an obituary writer who dotes on his daughter Pickle. He hates his job and yet when asked to travel to Switzerland to interview a dying author, he agrees hoping to find answers to questions on his life.
Herman Cohen is the corrections editor, a grammar nazi who is obsessed with having a style guide in place. A desperate-to-be-in-relationship business writer Benjamin Hardy who cares in the least that her Irish boyfriend along with his friends is stealing from her. The copy editor Ruby Zaga is fearing that she’s going to be fired from her job but heaves a sigh of relief when she isn’t. She is stalking a man who had once kissed her but isn’t keen on a relationship with her.
The life of these journalists is spiraling down just like the fate of the newspaper they are working for. They know their talents are not enough to sustain life’s severity, let alone their job requirements. Hoping for some change in their loneliness, seeking companionship and a meaningful existence is what they are all after. Intricately woven tragicomic elements make The Imperfectionists more than an average novel.
The Imperfectionists is a perfect example of a novel that leaves you frustrated with the number of characters the reader is supposed to have their minds aligned with but at the same time gets you hooked with their plightful states. They get boring but convince you enough to keep up with them. You don’t want to read another page and yet you find yourself turning pages just so you know what happens in the end, which is quite tragic by the way.
Tom Rachman has himself been a journalist and knows the industry in and out. The way he has squeezed his observances and experience of the industry in the stories is simply brilliant. I am left thinking if I liked it or it is otherwise. But I may have to give it another chance to be able to decide that.
If you happen to read it or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.
THE UNREAD BOOK©