Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Imperfectionists


I didn’t read about or come across this novel at any point in my internet wanderings. It was given to me while I was in bed at the hospital after an accident with my foot, along with a few economic texts and a creative non-fiction book about life in New York City right after 9/11.
I don’t know what it is, but I find myself much more interested in contemporary, literary texts (with strong plots) than classic works, which should be on the top of my list. I want to get back to “Moby Dick”, “War and Peace” or some Kafka. I even find it a bit hard to get into “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, which I do really want to read, as well as “The War of The End of the World” by Mario Vargas Llosa (Latin American authors are the best), but I just can’t get myself to keep the attention. I will return to them, soon enough though.
“The Imperfectionists”, published in 2010 by Tom Rachman, a British born writer who was a journalist for the Associated Press, covers the story of a newspaper publishing company which is founded in 1950’s Italy by Millionaire Cyrus Ott. The story explores the legacy of this newspaper publishing and the Ott family, as well as being a small history and commentary of the printed word in general. Each chapter focuses on a different person who works the paper’s publishing company, the section of it that they’re in charge of, their perspective on other people who work there, their own troubles, etc, effectively assembling and grander and deeper view of the people who bring you the happenings around the world in black-and-white print.
The writing itself kept me interested; the pacing is excellent and fast enough to keep the attention of today’s average attention-deficit person. He doesn’t sit in some passages, dwelling on a character staring at a photo and writing about what they’re feeling for pages and pages at a time (nothing wrong this in itself, but some authors do it to absolute inane and boring ends. What they’re talking about isn’t interesting). Although in some passages, Rachman goes too fast and actually jumps over small scenes and bits that should’ve been more developed, especially after building up tension to it. The theme of interweaving of perspectives is definitely a great idea, especially in pertinence to the over-arching subject of writing and the newspaper itself.
Not more much to say than this. I wish I could write about on going subjects or literary symbols, but that would require a second reading, which I may do depending on what I read about it from other people’s reviews. The novel wasn’t spellbinding or that memorable, but had I bought it, I definitely would’ve deemed worth the investment, and I do look forward to more output by Mr. Rachman.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

January 25th Update

Ok, so the last thing I left on here was a quote from David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas”, which I still haven’t finished even though I started it January 2011. Early December 2011, I was in an accident and was hospitalized for the whole month. I’m out now.
In retrospect, I should have finished about 5 novels1 in that time, but instead, I could not take myself away from “Law and Order” reruns or marathons of “Burn Notice” and “Leverage”. So, “Cloud Atlas” was dragged out. However, I am not without progress. I did finish “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” (which has since been release in big-screen form, directed by David Fincher, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, snubbed by Academy Awards), and I've finished "The Nearest Exit" by Olen Steinhauer. I also started, but did not finish, “The New York Trilogy” by Paul Auster.

I started a job in May that is just….abysmal, and free time in lieu of that has been spent drinking and smoking cigarettes to help cope with this. Working there, full of people who treat their customers like crap, make stereotypical, ignorant judgments of people and are quick to put you down or try to show how worthless you are to your boss when all you want to do is serve the customers, knocked the literary drive out of me. It’s nothing short of unbelievable that places this unethical are still allowed to function and have a place in society. It giving people jobs does not outweigh the immoral practices of this business. That’s not to say that I prefer the jobs and business being taken away, but that it would definitely be better run by other, rational, progressive people who understand that customers are the foundation of a business and things should be in order to keep them coming back. If I say anymore, this post will become quite political. There’s more about this shitty place in my earlier blog post. But I digress.

Anyway, I will fight to keep a literary fire roasting within me. It’s one of the only reasons to live. I will write what I remember thinking about those 2 books, if only to record them on this blog. Will come back later. 

Notes: 1) Pending that none of them were any long, mega pensive works like “Crime and Punishment” or something.