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Extended Audio Sample The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (25,932 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tom Rachman Narrator: Christopher Evan Welch Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Rome, Tom Rachman’s wry, vibrant debut follows the topsy-turvy private lives of the reporters, editors, and executives of an international English-language newspaper as they struggle to keep it—and themselves—afloat. Many changes have ensued since an enigmatic millionaire founded the paper 50 years ago, and now the staff’s personal dramas seem more important than the headlines. Kathleen, the imperious editor in chief, is smarting from a betrayal in her open marriage. Arthur, the lazy obituary writer, is transformed by a personal tragedy. Abby, the embattled financial officer, discovers that her job cuts and her love life are intertwined in a most unexpected way. And in the shadows is the isolated young publisher who pays more attention to his prized basset hound, Schopenhauer, than to the fate of his family’s quirky newspaper. As the era of print news gives way to the Internet age and this imperfect crew stumbles toward an uncertain future, the paper’s rich history is revealed, including the surprising truth about its founder’s intentions. Spirited, moving, and highly original, The Imperfectionists will establish Tom Rachman as one of our most perceptive, assured literary talents. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “This first novel by Tom Rachman, a London-born journalist who has lived and worked all over the world, is so good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off. I still haven’t answered that question, nor do I know how someone so young…could have acquired such a precocious grasp of human foibles. The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it’s assembled like a Rubik’s Cube. I almost feel sorry for Rachman, because a debut of this order sets the bar so high.”

    Christopher Buckley, New York Times bestselling author

  • The Imperfectionists is a splendid original, filled with wit and structured so ingeniously that figuring out where the author is headed is half the reader’s fun. The other half comes from his sparkling descriptions not only of newspaper office denizens but of the tricks of their trade, presented in language that is smartly satirical yet brimming with affection.”

    New York Times

  • “[An] acute debut…Rachman, a former editor for the International Herald Tribune, paints the characters’ small dramas and private disappointments with humanity and humor.”

    New Yorker

  • The Imperfectionists is about what happens when professionals realize that their craft no longer has meaning in the world’s eyes…and that the only people who really understand them are on the same foundering ship, and that, come to think of it, they really loved that damn ship for all it made their lives hell…Rachman is a fine observer and a funny writer—and a writer who knows how to be funny in character.”

    Washington Post

  • “There are no wasted words in this book, every scene and detail move the characters and story forward. The Imperfectionists will make you laugh and cry. It’s the rare novel that can shift emotional tone effortlessly…The Imperfectionists is magnificent.”

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “Immensely readable…this book is filled with gorgeous writing, jolts of insight, and narrative surprises that feel both unexpected and inevitable. One finishes reading The Imperfectionists with the sense that Rachman not only knows his way around a newsroom, but is also well acquainted with storytelling masters such as Anton Chekhov and William Trevor…A near-flawless debut.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “In his zinger of a debut, Rachman deftly applies his experience as foreign correspondent and editor to chart the goings-on at a scrappy English-language newspaper in Rome…Chapters read like exquisite short stories…There are more than enough sublime moments [and] unexpected turns.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Welch’s character portrayals—marked by changes in vocalization and timbre—keep listeners oriented in place and time. Although the characters can be painfully flawed or naïve, Welch concentrates on creating personalities, not drama, allowing listeners to make their own emotional connections and judgments. The buzz created by this novel is well deserved.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2010
  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tammie | 2/12/2014

    " favorite of the year. i'm still clinging on to every word, including the interview with the author at the end. very much worth reading and highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tiziana | 2/8/2014

    " Great debut - an author to follow "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Emily Simnitt | 2/6/2014

    " I had to read this book as a former journalist. I know these characters (and if I'm honest, I will admit that I see part of myself in them). This is a collection of sad tales about the characters in a newsroom in an English language newspaper in Rome that is failing in the same ways that newspapers all over the country are. I liked some of the stories better than others, but I would recommend it, especially to my friends who have experience in the newsroom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Trishaladd | 2/5/2014

    " Totally different, and well written. "

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