Quick Thoughts on The Imperfectionists and The Newlyweds

Publisher: The Dial Press
Publication Date: April 2010
Categories: Literary
Source: Library

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.

Fifty years and many changes have ensued since the paper was founded by an enigmatic millionaire, and now, amid the stained carpeting and dingy office furniture, the staff’s personal dramas seem far more important than the daily 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. Out in the field, a veteran Paris freelancer goes to desperate lengths for his next byline, while the new Cairo stringer is mercilessly manipulated by an outrageous war correspondent with an outsize ego. 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.

My Quick Thoughts:

Holy smokes, what a book! The characters, oh the characters! So real, so flawed, so interesting

Each chapter is almost its own fully contained short story. Yet, they’re all connected in the best ways.

I’ve seen some mixed reviews about this one. What?? I don’t get it. Rachman nailed this so hard. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: May 2012
Categories: Family Life, Contemporary Women, Literary
Source: Library

A powerful, funny, richly observed tour de force by one of America’s most acclaimed young writers: a story of love and marriage, secrets and betrayals, that takes us from the backyards of America to the back alleys and villages of Bangladesh.

In The Newlyweds, we follow the story of Amina Mazid, who at age twenty-four moves from Bangladesh to Rochester, New York, for love. A hundred years ago, Amina would have been called a mail-order bride. But this is an arranged marriage for the twenty-first century: Amina is wooed by—and woos—George Stillman online.  

For Amina, George offers a chance for a new life and a different kind of happiness than she might find back home. For George, Amina is a woman who doesn’t play games. But each of them is hiding something: someone from the past they thought they could leave behind. It is only when they put an ocean between them—and Amina returns to Bangladesh—that she and George find out if their secrets will tear them apart, or if they can build a future together. 

The Newlyweds is a surprising, suspenseful story about the exhilarations—and real-life complications—of getting, and staying, married. It stretches across continents, generations, and plains of emotion. What has always set Nell Freudenberger apart is the sly, gimlet eye she turns on collisions of all kinds—sexual, cultural, familial. With The Newlyweds, she has found her perfect subject for that vision, and characters to match. She reveals Amina’s heart and mind, capturing both her new American reality and the home she cannot forget, with seamless authenticity, empathy, and grace. At once revelatory and affecting, The Newlyweds is a stunning achievement.

My Quick Thoughts:

I expected this to be about a culture clash between George and Amina. There is that, but there’s a lot more going on in this story. 

Marriage can be messy under the best of conditions. It can be especially difficult when outside forces conspire against you. It can be nearly impossible when there is a jerky jerkface of a character that is trying to suck all of the joy out of your lives!

Great settings, great characters, great read. You’ll dig it. 

28 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts on The Imperfectionists and The Newlyweds

  1. Wow! The Imperfectionists sounds awesome!! I need to read that one ASAP! As for The Newlyweds I'd heard some mixed reviews of it, but I'm thinking I should still give it a go. Thanks!!


  2. I've been on the fence about the Imperfectionists, but you've officially tipped the scales! You have good taste, I trust you :).


  3. The Perfectionists has been sitting on my shelf for a very long time. Someone must have given it to me, glad to hear that it is so good. And Nell Freudenberger! I loved her short stories, and have been wanting to read this novel. Glad to hear you good reports on both.


  4. Oooo! I've been considering both for ages. I have to get these. Especially The Imperfectionists! I think I included that on a list of TBR when my blog was born – so almost 3 years ago! WOW. Great reviews. I'll let you know how it goes.


  5. Ooh, I want to read both of these now! I've seen The Imperfectionists in bookstores and always admired the cover, but now I'll have to pick it up somewhere.Great reviews –thanks!


  6. \”Marriage can be messy under the best of conditions\” … True. So true. I love strong character-driven novels, and both of these sound great. I'm off to see whether they're already on my TBR list at Goodreads.


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