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.

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Bollocks, what's your bloody take on things then?