As Fizzythoughts mentioned, one of the stories mentions Ulysses! One reference was about carrying around the hefty book in a pocket and the other to Leopold and Molly Bloom. I smiled at these – the only books I took with me on vacation last week were The Imperfectionists and Ulysses! Actually, not true – I also took the Ulysses/Joyce Guide to Dublin book…
Another reference dropped into The Imperfectionists was the name Diana Vreeland. She was a famous editor of Vogue magazine and I have her autobiography D.V. and am just starting it. I considered the mention my hint to read as my next book.
I loved the setting and the food mentions throughout The Imperfectionists. I wanted to look up recipes – especially in the story about the editor who is gruff at work but actually quite lovable. And ROME! Italy!! Books like this make me sad I didn’t read more like it in high school. I would never have dreamed – ok, let’s face it, I never would have DARED believe I could just go to a foreign country and work. Wish I could have… NoooOOoo, I had to think about what degree would find me the best job: BOOOORRRRRrrIiiinnnngggggGGG. oh well. I have a good life; shall not complain. Makes one wonder sometimes, how things would have turned out IF… one different choice = whole ‘nother path –> where would I be?
I gave The Imperfectionists 4 slices of pie though I hesitated it was only a 3 slicer. Perhaps it was that the characters where a bit hard to like. They make some dumb choices; do things I wouldn’t call admirable. Talk about showing the warts!
The style of the book is interesting, too. It’s like a woven tapestry of various stories and characters, weaving here and there to make up a whole. Time shifts back and forth; minor characters show up and then disappear to re-emerge later. The flow was nice. Questions are asked and never answered but always interesting.
I think we will have many interesting topics discussed at book club next week! Character slamming is likely.
My favorite story (and probably character) is the Arthur story – he is an obituary writer lacking ambition who through a few sudden turns of events and reflection after, develops some ambition after all. POIGNANT.
As to the writing, I think it was in that category of so good that you scarcely realize you are reading – you are not distracted by it nor aware of it while in the middle of the story. Once complete, you think, ‘very fine’.
Have you ever thought you can read the author when you read a book? How some novels, fiction novels, somehow expose the author while you are reading? I only ask to show the contrast of our last book club book and this one. In Shadow Tag, I really got the impression that Louise Erdrich was sharing herself. (It has been mentioned that elements of Shadow Tag could be autobiographical…) But in the Imperfectionist, I did NOT get any sense of the author. This really strikes me as significant somehow and thus I bring it up. Which is also why I very much enjoyed the author interview at the end of the book.
If you want to read a true review of this collection of connected stories pertaining to an English-language newspaper printed in Rome, check out Softdrink’s link in the first paragraph or click on any or all of the links here, here, here, here for terrific analysis, insights and plot descriptions. Or click HERE for the grand google search results.
Word has it that Brad Pitt’s film company has picked up the rights. This would explain why Brad Pitt’s photograph showed up in the image collection when I searched for the cover.
Who would Brad Pitt play if he was a character? I would put him in for the original publisher/founder Mr. Ott.