I know, it’s taken me forever to get to The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman. What can I say, I was saving it for the perfect moment. The Imperfectionists is a hard book to follow, so I wanted to be in the right mood to give Rachman a little leg up. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers was a really good book, it wasn’t The Imperfectionists, but it was a solid read.
Every description of The Rise an Fall that I’ve read makes it sound like it is set in a quirky used bookstore in Wales. Well, it’s not. Not really. True Tooly, our protagonist, does own a bookstore, but she spends very little time in it. Instead, most of the novel recounts her journey to figure out who she really is. She had an unorthodox childhood, to say the least, and was bounced around from country to country living with eccentric adults who bore little direct relationship to her. It’s this searching for her past and learning more about why her life was like that that makes the novel exciting. There are certain mysteries to unravel and twists and turns along the way.
If you have read The Imperfectionists, it should come as no surprise that Rachman’s writing throughout is top-notch. I still prefer The Imperfectionists, but perhaps only because I read it first.
Who would like this book? The whole time I was reading The Rise and Fall, I couldn’t help but be reminded of The Goldfinch (review) by Donna Tarrt. I’m not exactly sure why this was the case and would love to know if anyone else felt the same way. Maybe it was because of the way unusual people roll in and out of the lives of the two protagonists? Or maybe it was because of their itinerant lives? Beyond that, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good literary read. I think we will be hearing a lot about Rachman all year long and I expect to see him nominated for some big awards. What I’m really disappointed about is that he will not be at the Edinburgh Book Festival.
I was generously given a copy of this book by the lovelies at RandomHouse Canada for review consideration. As always, thank you!
This book sounds so great! I love your comparison to The Goldfinch; if I wasn’t sold on this book already, I definitely am now.
I need you to read it. I can’t put my finger on why it reminded me of The Goldfinch, but it did.
I do eventually want to give this one a try. I really enjoyed The Imperfectionists, in a weird. way. I almost didn’t want to like it but I did…long story, lol.
Speaking of the Goldfinch, I have that one on my shelf but haven’t managed to get to it. YET. I will 😀
I think I actually like The Rise and Fall better than The Goldfinch. It just seemed unnecessarily long.
I have this book waiting on my Nook, but I haven’t been terribly excited to read it. That’s changing with this review!!! And I need to backtrack and read The Imperfectionists.
No, I think you should read this one first. The Imperfectionists is a hard book to follow and I think I would have liked his 2nd book better if I hadn’t read the first. You can conduct this little experiment for me.
I didn’t think The Imperfectionists was too great, so I’m not sure if I want to read this or not; but I do like books set in bookstores
Hmmm, you might want to skip this one.
I just loved The Imperfectionists so much. I am really looking forward to reading this one but I know it’s not going to live up to his first. That’s probably why I’ve been putting off reading this. I know I will eventually get to it, I just have to remember that it’s not The Imperfectionists and that’s ok.
Oddly, The Imperfectionists was perfect, and this one is imperfect but still pretty darn good.
I most definitely need to read this one. I do have his Imperfectionists, so I will give that a try first. Glad to know that you liked this one and loved Imperfectionists.
I am recommending to everyone who hasn’t read The Imperfectionists to read The Rise and Fall first. That way you’ll go in with an open mind and you can tell me what it’s like without a tainted perspective.
Thanks for the review! I had mixed feelings about THE IMPERFECTIONISTS, mostly to do with the way the stories did or did not come together. But I did really enjoy the writing, so I think I will keep an eye out for this one.
This one comes together much better than The Imperfectionists. You might enjoy it.
I am so glad you liked this one! I though it was great. Now I can look forward to reading his first book sometime.
Okay, so I guess I really do need to slate The Imperfectionists in – while I really enjoyed The Rise & Fall, almost everyone that has read The Imperfectionists has said they liked it so much more (although Elizabeth here at LH didn’t enjoy it at all). So….I guess I better get cracking it open to find out for myself!
Yeah, get on it!
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