The Imperfectionists, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


The charming and enthralling story of an idiosyncratic English-language newspaper in Rome and the lives of its staffers as the paper fights for survival in the internet age.'A precise, playful fiction with a deep but lightly worn intelligence' - Times Literary SupplementThe newspaper was founded in Rome in the 1950s, a product of passion and a multi-millionaire's fancy.

Over fifty years, its eccentricities earned a place in readers' hearts around the globe.

But now, circulation is down, the paper lacks a website, and the future looks bleak.

Still, those involved in the publication seem to barely notice.

The obituary writer is too busy avoiding work. The editor-in-chief is pondering sleeping with an old flame.

The obsessive reader is intent on finishing every old edition, leaving her trapped in the past. And the publisher seems less interested in his struggling newspaper than in his magnificent basset hound, Schopenhauer.

The Imperfectionists interweaves the stories of eleven unusual and endearing characters who depend on the paper.

Funny and moving, the novel is about endings - the end of life, the end of sexual desire, the end of the era of newspapers - and about what might rise afterward.


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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

An enjoyable novel though I felt it fell far short of the encomia lavishly scattered over the cover. In fact, this is more like a series of short stories, each focusing on a different character from the workforce of the unnamed Rome-based English language newspaper, linked by a brief interspersed history of the newspaper. Sadly I couldn't find even one character whom I liked, but I still enjoyed the experience.

Review by

Delightfully written story. The narrative builds up through a sequence of stories about the various people at an international newspaper based in Rome. For each of these people something ends or breaks down in their story, within the general decline of the newspaper that binds their lives together. In spite of the unhappy developments for the paper and most of the characters, the author describes each of them with wry sympathy and often comic insight in people's petty emotions.

Review by

Misogynistic, unfunny, bland, predictable...but eminently readable. As with One Day, I had trouble putting it down, but once I did I knew I had disliked it a great deal. The one vignette I enjoyed - about a woman who reads newspapers cover to cover, and thus finds herself several years behind the real world - was first seen in a play in the 19th century! Scoop's reign as the king of newspaper literature remains unthreatened.