The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman


Audiobook.  Each chapter of Tom Rachman's book focuses on a single imperfect person; all of these people are connected to an English language newspaper published in Rome.  The trajectory of the life of the newspaper itself is told in flashbacks separating each chapter from its beginning in the 1950s to its demise in 2007.  

The newspaper life is a useful setting for examining a diverse crew, from the businessman who founded it, to an Italian woman who read it so slowly that she was a dozen years behind in her knowledge of current events, the workaholic editor and his much-younger girlfriend, and at the paper's end, the pathetic grandson of the founder who can only relate to his basset hound.  In almost all cases what they fret about and what happens to them is of interest and makes for good stories.  Only the story of the interaction of an old buffoon and a naive fellow who both went to Cairo in hopes of becoming the stringer there was over the top, irritatingly unreal. With that exception I found the writing very appealing and connections of each story to the whole quite satisfying.

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