Saturday Read: The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman

My initial reason for wanting to read The Imperfectionists was the cover. A simple stack of newspapers set against a neutral backdrop with a gorgeous, swirly, twirly font! Something about it called out to me. On the inside cover, I discovered that the novel was about a small newspaper based in Rome and I was sold. With my summer travel dreams slowly fading away, I hoped that the novel could, at least somewhat, transport me to beautiful, historic Rome for a short time.

The Imperfectionists is an interesting read. It revolves around an English-based newspaper, founded in Rome, but is told in chapters about each of the employees. The stories do weave together slightly and you begin to recognize names, but each chapter is like its own unique short story. It has been a long, long time since I’ve read a book like this and I found it to be perfect while I was studying for my finals. Every night I could read and learn a bit more about the newspaper and characters, but I didn’t have to keep up with any plot.

The first short story was a perfect fit. It’s about Lloyd Burko, a correspondent for the newspaper based in Paris. His life in somewhat in shambles and the story itself is not a happy one, but it really sets the tone for the rest of the novel. He isn’t particularly good at his job anymore and he doesn’t make much of an effort to be involved in the lives of his now-grown children. But, just like all the other employees featured, he’s loyal to the newspaper that links them.

In between the chapters, Rachman takes you through a history of the newspaper, starting when millionaire Cyrus Ott spontaneously decided to start the paper. I found that these little tid-bits really added to the stories, especially when current characters at the newspaper started popping up in them. Rachman was careful to drop familiar names here and there, but not so often that it interferes with the character’s chapter. Again, I loved that I didn’t have to remember what I read the night before, which is so rare to find with a book.

Rachman perfectly balanced continuity and lack of coherence in The Imperfectionists. It feels like a well-organized jumble and somewhat of an oxymoron, but I think that’s why I loved it! The structure is so different than anything I’ve read lately, so it’s completely unique and exciting. Plus, the story is good, too. This would be perfect beach or vacation reading when you want something easy to read, yet meaningful.

I definitely recommend it.

If you’ve read it, share your own thoughts and opinions below!

So. over. finals? Need a little something to take your mind off those notecards? Get more great book recommendations right here!

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