Oh you guys. I don't remember much of anything about this book anymore. I read it over a month ago for my book club and was waiting to post until after our discussion. But then I put it off so long that I actually just entirely forgot about it. The Imperfectionists was actually my book club pick, so I can't really blame anyone for the fact that it gave me a major case of the bummers. The NY Times gave it a pretty fabulous review and the book IS well written; it's smart, interesting and in many ways feels very real. Maybe too real?
Perhaps I should back up and tell you the basic plot first. The book takes place in Rome at an English language newspaper. Each chapter follows one of the employees at the paper and you get a sneak into their life for 30-50 pages. One employee finds that his girlfriend is having an affair, one sad young girl starts dating a total loser and lets him take advantage of him. Their aging stringer living in Paris can't find a story and struggles with finances and his irrelevance. It had a slight short-story feel to it, which if I'm honest I'll admit that I sort of hate short stories. It's just that I like getting sucked into a plot and I love love character development. Short stories just don't have enough space to do either of these things sufficiently for me - I'm always just about sucked in when boom. It's over. Cue disappointment. But I digress. My disappointment in this book wasn't so much about it's short storiness, as much as the crushing statement it makes about humanity. People are so annoying! And petty! And I don't know. It's probably all very true and maybe that's why I didn't like reading about it. But I'm really over focusing on that part. The truth is that the book is really well written, very articulate and a fascinating study in real people. I was worried about the book club meeting, thinking that everyone might have hated it for its sadness, but it ended up making for a very lively discussion.
1 week ago