I was so disappointed by the ending of this book. Other than the last chapter, I really enjoyed it. But the cruel, unnecessarily cruel ending was uncalled for and disgusting.
The only other thing about the book that kind of irked me was the lack of time with characters. The Imperfectionists details the beginning and end, and middle, of an international paper that is referred to as “The Paper” and is based in Rome. We first meet Lloyd Burko, a stringer in Paris, suffering from old age – or rather a terrible fear and resentment of technology – who is hard up and needs some cash. Not to mention his younger wife is having an affair with the guy in the apartment across the hall. We then meet Artur Gopal who loses the only thing that matters to him and suddenly has all the time in the world to excel as a journalist. Then Hardy, a female staff member who focuses solely on her career and being an adult until she finds a childish Irishman to love. Then the publisher, Cyrus Ott stricken with cancer and trying to make amends with his family; Kathleen, the new boss, trying to prove herself at the Paper so she can go back an conquer journalism in America; Ruby Zaga, the lone female copyeditor who hates her life but doesn’t want to lose it. More and more follow over the course of two and a half generations.
What Tom Rachman does, is paint a picture of humanity. What it means to be human. What it means to hate and desire and struggle and survive. What it means to find the one thing or one person that can push you over the brink or save you from the edge. And how the thing we need is never what we think we need.
Except for that disgusting, atrocious ending. If that’s what humanity is, then we’re all going to die. And rightly so.