How to tell the small history of a newspaper through 12 little biographies of people orbiting around it. By no means all happy endings, some of them were well written and moving.
A must read.
Apart from a few hiccups here and there, this novel about an American newspaper based in Rome just flows forward at a wonderfully brisk pace, unfolding as it goes the lives and inner worlds of the many characters working or living around the paper. The structure of dedicating short and individual chapters to each major character and interweaving these with a separate set of narratives recounting the founding and running of the paper across half a century, is fresh, bold and challenging. Not only does the author have to shift perspectives and change tones for each of these short stories, a connection must be established between these seemingly disconnected tales of loneliness, regrets, remembrance and nostalgia. The author pulled it off beautifully and gave us one engaging story after another, each with such a distinct voice that you could almost visually match to a face.
I was a little surprised by how insubstantial the connection between the chapters, as far as the narratives go, turned out to be, leaving the tales of many somehow unresolved and apparently isolated. I realize this saves it from the cheap aftertaste of a perfectly rounded-up story with no loose ends, and it does give the readers more room to fill in the blanks and guess the unsaid. But the part of me that yearns for harmony, closure and technical craftsmanship in a narrative still kept me from giving this book the fifth star.
Otherwise, a book with vivid characters, a believable plot, relatable sentiments, and a great sense of humor. Even more of an impressive accomplishment considering it's a debut novel....Continua
Incredibly thoroughly depressing ! ... Maybe, that's life but how come every person related to that international English-language newspaper seems so miserable in some way ? I don't enjoy reading this novel and somehow I've also felt that the author also seems showing off his vocabularies (needless to say, to me at least). When I was considerably younger, I at times imagined myself to be a journalist. Now, after finishing reading this novel, that kind of dream has vaporized. Maybe, it's good that the author tells us about the reality of journalism but it's just too bitter to swallow. I can't help wondering whether all the gloominess has anything to do with his life/experience in Rome ?!...Continua
A set of vignettes around a fictive English language newspaper in Rome. The author, a former writer for the herald tribune based in Rome, brings to life a bevy of characters from the very anal editor to the super ambitious female writer to the quirky owner and his offspring. You feel like a fly on the wall as you witness the paper go from a start-up to a major success to its demise. Good read!...Continua