Books are a format that I like to savor slowly, allowing their integral themes, characters, and plot to live and grow with me over a prolonged period of time. That, and I’m a rather slow reader. Regardless, ‘The Imperfectionists’ is a novel that I could not put down or leave alone; it accompanied me through dinners, subway rides, and late hours when the lights should have been out. Tom Rachman’s language became a thing to feast on; I could not get enough and was only sated once the last page was turned.
The novel follows the staff of an English speaking newspaper based in Rome where each chapter serves as a focused character study of someone in that office. In each one past and future subjects of the novel operate on the periphery, appearing just long enough to reveal pieces of the mosaic that you had not expected and elicit epiphanies you had not planned. ‘The Imperfectionists’ reminds me of feelings I’ve encountered but couldn’t properly relay, of people I’ve known that I couldn’t fully comprehend. Much of popular fiction has become an exercise in becoming loud or domineering enough to obtain movie rights, but Tom Rachman’s debut novel is a piece of writing that captures both the New York Times bestseller list as well as that ineffable truth that you didn’t realize you needed until you found it.
Visit his website where you can read reviews and purchase the novel.