Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman

Admittedly, I bought into all the praise this book was getting by picking up this book: on the Indie Top 10 List for weeks, New York Times Notable Books of 2010, blah blah. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Maybe not the emotional powerhouse I was expecting, but Tom Rachman is certainly an author I'll read in the future.

What's special about this novel is the delicate way in which Rachman shows how this group of people struggle to balance their personal lives amidst such a demanding work environment. Within twenty pages, you can feel that tension; that you get to experience that for so many different characters within such a slim novel is amazing. Rachman's very sharp with how he presents people. Each character's baggage unfolds quickly, and without prejudice. The array of people covered in the varying vignettes covers all manner of adult emotional sin: loneliness, ambition, selfishness, etc.

I felt like one of the common threads throughout the different chapters was that everyone seemed to be watching the world go by from that office room, and their lives right along with it. Each character suffers from a disconnect with one or more of his/her loved ones. It's heartbreaking, but beautifully crafted.

Again, Rachman doesn't sweep you with some enormous tragic circumstances, but rather shows the tragedy from one person to the next, until an interesting sampling of relationships and emotions has been evoked. It's quite lovely, and dare I say I'm content that this has been lauded as it is!

The Imperfectionists, Tom Rachman
ISBN: 0385343671 

PS: When searching "The Imperfectionists" on Google Images for a suitably sized image of the cover, this is how I was rewarded: I am baffled that this could be considered imperfect! 

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