Becoming a journalist was one of my life’s ambitions. This was triggered when I watched All The President’s Men back when I was a college kid in the latter part of the 90’s. But pursuing such career was, without any regret, out of the question. I was already majoring in political science, a course I took because I loved practical law as my high school elective and it had the least number of math subjects. And I was never really a natural born writer. Perhaps I write to channel the spirit and wisdom of the stories and authors that I read and adore. Fortunately, my more than a decade-old career in development work allowed me to do some writing and introduced me to a few but extraordinary journalists.
This respect and awe of the world inhabited by professionals behind the news that reach the public were the reasons why I thoroughly enjoyed and quickly finished Tom Rachman’s spectacular debut, The Imperfectionists. Set in Rome, mostly in the newsroom of a struggling international newspaper, the novel enlarges the lives of correspondents, editors, executives, and readers as they keep themselves afloat, professionally and personally. Structurally, The Imperfectionists is divided in eleven chapters, each functioning as a short story that adequately stands on their own. And in between chapters, Rachman smartly infused retrospectives on the rise, impending fall, and then genesis of the unnamed newspaper.
The Imperfectionists is captivating, tightly constructed, sensitively written, and genuinely human. In the novel’s fourth chapter, the character of Herman Cohen, the newspaper’s corrections editor, emphasizes the function of credibility of every individual working in a news agency. But human as they are, the topsy turvy lives and complicated choices of the reporters, editors, and executives in the story challenge the same core value their profession require them to unfailingly uphold. Published in 2010, The Imperfectionists further provides commentaries on the traditional delivery of news in the age of technology. Read The Imperfectionists and be delighted!