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The Imposters

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529425840

Price: £10.99

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The Imposters is the first novel in stories that Tom Rachman has written since his international bestseller The Imperfectionists.

‘An astonishing achievement – brutally funny, humane, dizzying – will win Rachman the readership he deserves’ Patrick Gale

‘Easily the best thing I have read in ages’ Rebecca Wait
Clever and full of tricks from start to finish’ Spectator

It’s set during a crisis in democracy, a society in lockdown linked digitally but convulsed by a social media frenzy, and is told by a little-known, little-read Dutch novelist named Dora Frenhofer who has decided that her life as an old woman in this post-truth pandemic world has become too much.

But like a twenty-first century Scheherazade Dora spins stories to fend off the evil day, conjuring connections from her past to give meaning to the present. She imagines the fate of her missing brother, lost on the hippie trail in India in the sixties; the loneliness of her estranged daughter Beck, whose career writing stand-up shows for Netflix dramatizes the culture wars; Danny, an almost equally unfashionable writer she meets at a festival; the tortured history of the van driver who takes her unwanted books away; the nonchalant courier who nearly ran her over in the rain; her former lover, the sophisticated food critic; her last remaining friend. And finally, Dora’s own last chapter.

The Imposters is Rachman at his inimitable best, a writer whose formal ingenuity and flamboyant technique is matched by his humanity and generosity.


Tom Rachman surpasses the already astonishing achievements of The Italian Teacher. His satire is often brutally funny, but always rooted in a humane acceptance that our flaws are what make us us. This is a dizzying switchback tale of our vanities and vain ambitions but also a deft illustration of the consolations (and condolatory revenges) of fiction. Dora Frenhofer, the relentless, failing novelist who powers the book along, is a spiky, courageous creation who will win Rachman the readership he deserves. Very sad the ride is over!
Patrick Gale
I absolutely loved The Imposters. It's terrifying, and yet made me laugh so hard. Tom Rachman is a wonderfully knowing writer, at home in half a dozen societies other than his own; and yet, The Imposters is a severe (at times hilarious) indictment of shallow cosmopolitanism, of the cruelty and disregard that can underlie the veneer of fluency in a global world, of failing to truly see the myriad peoples we find ourselves thrown amongst.
Aatish Taseer
If like me you were a big fan of Tom Rachman's rollicking The Imperfectionists, you'll want to leap on his new novel, The Imposters. It's clever and funny and ingeniously constructed, also heartfelt: Rachman is a wizard at displaying jaundiced affection for his characters. And the dialogue zings along with an enviably Stoppardian zest. I couldn't have enjoyed myself more.
Benjamin Dreyer, New York Times bestselling author of Dreyer's English
The Imposters is Tom Rachman's fifth book in just over a decade. It is also his best - full of twists and surprises . . . Whether it's 1970s India, modern-day LA or Syria, Rachman has a good ear for place and time, and changes gear effortlessly. Each chapter is a short story in its own right, but when key characters turn up again elsewhere, the connection invariably is with Dora, until you start to wonder whether they might be the creations of this novelist, whose memory is perhaps not as bad as we thought . . . The Imposters is clever and full of tricks from start to finish. It is also very moving.
Like a twisting kaleidoscope . . . sharp, witty and inventive
Daily Mail
A novel full of wit and observation . . . Rachman's vivid evocation of life and his literary compassion compel the reader to read on and admire.
Rachman is observant and funny in his take on how parents and partners damage their loved ones. Yet, Dora - the failed mother, halfhearted romantic partner and unfulfilled author - remains an oddly likeable presence: "She specified herself to be Dutch, therefore allowed to be blunt." Ultimately, this is a beguiling book about the wear and tear of disappointments and the transformative value of storytelling. Failure and loss, Rachman notes, can also be material. As can a pandemic.
Financial Times