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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 Supplement

The 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.


'Vignettes packed with poignant insights and laugh out loud dialogue, the reader is left amazed and delighted by this new author whose prose is reminiscent of Portman and Vonnegut yet wholly and wonderfully his own. Buy this book!' Canada Post.
Canada Post
'Rachman is an admirable stylist. Each chapter is so finely wrought that it could stand alone as a memorable short story... Funny, poignant, occasionally breathtaking novel' Financial Times.
Financial Times
'Hilarious and poignant debut... Rachman's strength lies in the rendering of the characters - all 11 are believable, flawed and lovable... The Imperfectionists is funny and prescient, but still full of hope' Yorkshire Post.
Yorkshire Post
'sketched with lively charm... loaded with charm and insight, the novel brings human tenderness to an inky business besieged by budget cuts and online competition' Daily Mail.
Daily Mail
'Rachman has a real gift for capturing a life in a few sentences ... we realise the book has taken us through the 50-year life of the newspaper, and brought to life a moving cast of characters. By turns, funny and desperately sad, Rachman's always readable novel is a terrific debut' The Jewish Chronicle.
Jewish Chronicle
'The Imperfectionists is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it's assembled like a Rubik's cube ... a cross between Evelyn Waugh's Scoop and Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing adventure ... (this) is so good I had to read it twice' New York Times Book Review.
New York Times Book Review
'A precise, playful fiction with a deep but lightly worn intelligence' Times Literary Supplement.
Times Literary Supplement
Anyone who has ever spent time in newspaperland will recognize The Imperfectionists' high degree of authenticity. So will quite a few people beyond' Guardian.
'Light-footed lyricism... a series of acutely observed character sketches and a poignant sense of nostalgia' Glasgow Herald.
Glasgow Herald
'expertly crafted ... sublime writing ... so beautifully written, so compassionate in its observation and understanding of human behaviour, that one cannot tear the eyes from the page. The sheer dexterity of the writing brings a haunting beauty to the many tragedies within the narrative' The Times.
The Times
'an addictive read: quirky without being daft, funny without being shallow and the sort of book many a journalist will wish they had written' Times.
The Times