Monday, June 21, 2010

What's New On the Bookshelf?

This month’s recommendation is Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists, a novel that deserves all the early praise it has received and more. Anyone who has lived the expat life or worked at a newspaper should rush to his/her favorite independent bookstore for a copy. I read The Imperfectionists quickly because I decided to give it to my brother rather than keep it for guests, and he’s coming for a visit today. The book describes life at an international English-language newspaper, located in Rome. Rachman deftly profiles the various members of the newspaper staff in chapters that together create a marvelous tapestry that might hang on the mansion wall of founder and publisher Cyrus Ott, beside his Modigliani, say. Between chapters, Rachman slips in the story of the publisher’s life and history of the newspaper. What I especially like about this first novel is its brilliant use of language. I also got a kick out of the way the author adds a twist to the conclusion of the profiles, adding a detail the reader doesn’t expect and thus neatly tying each chapter up with a bow. A great read!