29 May 2011

The Imperfectionists; Tom Rachman

The ImperfectionistsThe Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd been told that this was a book about a newspaper and the various types (sorry, no pun intended) employed there. That's not quite true - it's a series of short glimpses of the lives of different people employed at an unnamed international paper, more like short stories loosely woven together than they are a novel. That's not to say that these aren't interesting people, just that anyone looking for a combination of "The Front Page" and All the President's Men won't find that here.

The characters profiled here are all flawed in some way. One or two overcome their flaws and manage to do something better with their lives by the end, but most sort of sink under the weight of that flaw. For example, the rookie reporter trying to be the Middle East stringer for the newspaper has so little backbone and confidence that he allows himself to be completely walked over by the crass, opportunistic veteran also trying for the stringer position. The flaws make them vaguely dislikeable, but overall the glimpses add up to a portrait of real humans working and living.

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