The Imperfectionists


The most alluring element of this novel is its title: The Imperfectionists. Many of us can relate to seeking perfection through our actions, through our words, and through all aspects of life. This novel’s young author, Tom Rachman, does not shy away from imperfections; in fact, he relishes in them.

This book elegantly exposes the lives of those dedicated to an English newspaper based out of Rome. Every second chapter explores the life – however imperfect – of a newspaper staffer. These life explorations alternate with important narratives, which shed light on the backstory of the paper and those involved since its conception.

This read is addictive. As each chapter comes to a close, I am left with many unanswered questions and an unfulfilled desire for resolution. I feel uncomfortable not knowing how each character’s life might unfold.

As I put this read to rest, the last pages thankfully tie up a few loose ends. There is some solace found in knowing that Arthur Gopal has moved on to a prestigious paper in New York City, that Herman Cohen is happily retired in Philadelphia where he spends his days with his grandchildren, and that Kathleen Solson has returned to her old newspaper in Washington.

Tom Rachman’s incessant display of control is indeed both lovely and irritating, and, in the end, he leaves me slightly tormented. I really want to read more… and I would guess that’s what he’s going for.

Casey