“literally: This word should be deleted. All too often, actions described as “literally” did not happen at all. As in, “He literally jumped out of his skin.” No, he did not. Though if he literally had, I’d suggest raising the element and proposing the piece for page one. Inserting “literally” willy-nilly reinforces the notion that breathless nitwits lurk within this newsroom. Eliminate on sight—the usage, not the nitwits. The nitwits are to be captured” Tom Rachman, The Imperfectionists
“What I really fear is time. That’s the devil: whipping us on when we’d rather loll, so the present sprints by, impossible to grasp, and all is suddenly past, a past that won’t hold still, that slides into these inauthentic tales. My past- it doesn’t feel real in the slightest. The person who inhabited it is not me. It’s as if the present me is constantly dissolving. There’s that line from Heraclitus: ‘No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.’ That’s quite right. We enjoy this illusion of continuity, and we call it memory. Which explains, perhaps, why our worst fear isn’t the end of life but the end of memories.” Tom Rachman, The Imperfectionists
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed these tales of quirky expats trying to survive in the big bad world. Freeloading headline scouts, reclusive heirs, hardnosed editors, out-of-touch widows and bitter-bottled-up lonely hearts make up some of my favorite characters from this story. The style reminded me a bit of A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (or vise versa) so you need to just appreciate each chapter as its own self-contained short story until you see the connections between the characters.
Enjoyed having Rome as a back drop and was pleased that I remembered some of the streets mentioned from our summer holiday. If you like armchair traveling or enjoy a good yarn about the dying newspaper business, you will enjoy The Imperfectionists.