THE IMPERFECTIONISTS by Tom Rachman

The-Imperfectionists-pbk-388x600Well, I don’t know that I would call it ‘spectacular’ or ‘magnificent’ or even ‘beguiling’ which seems a rather velvet and lace way of saying ‘delightful’,  but I would call it  ‘charming’.   I like charming.  I like charming people, and charming houses, and charming books.

It is the story of a newspaper.  Wait!  Wait!  Don’t run off!  It’s not one of those heavy  deals like Page One, or Scoop, or  The Front Page.  It is the rather gentle story of the people who were the heart of a certain international newspaper created in the fifties and headquartered in Rome.

A wealthy man,  who created his wealth out of nothing,  leaves his family in  Atlanta, Georgia to start up a newspaper in Rome, because he feels the world deserves a paper dedicated to truth and ideals.   We are then introduced to the employees, chapter by chapter, and you know, we kind of fall in love with them, flaws, frailties and all.  Their stories  intertwine, and extend over the decades until 2008, when the paper, bleeding money and fast losing what is left of its readers, is finally closed by the Board.

It is an especially poignant tale as today we watch paper after paper shut  their doors, having been beaten by technology and the changing news-gathering habits of its readership base.

Do read this.  I assure you it will stay with you, even if it isn’t spectacular or magnificent.  OK, maybe it IS beguiling.  I’ll give it beguiling.

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