Fiction the rise and fall rachman

Published on June 13th, 2014


The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman

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Blurb: High-quality intellectual! Yes, I mean you! You are thinking: What is Rise & Fall of Great Powers? Is history book? No! Is book for give big muscles? No, no! (After read this book, you still contain only small muscles. Sorry.) It is NOVEL about entire of world in last quarter-century, from end of Cold War, to up and down of America power, to tech revolution of today. But mostly, is novel about my favourite person, Tooly Zylberberg, and secrets of her life. I am careful now – danger I say too much. I give only bit more: Tooly is bookseller in countryside of Wales. Always, she is reading. But one story she never understand: story of her past. When she is girl, strange items happen. She is taken away, around Asia, Europe, America, for many years with mystery persons. Why for? I cannot say on back of book! One of mystery persons is me, Humphrey, old man from Russia who cheats in Ping-Pong and eats avocados. There is Sarah, who drives us crazy, and not in good way. Also, there is Duncan and Fogg and potbelly pig. And there is Venn, who is most mystery person of all. (Sceptre, May 2014)

Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

“This is one of the paciest, easiest to read novels you could imagine. Rachman’s thriller-like unpeeling of the dark depths of the bad guys is leavened by an infectious affection for the good guys and is combined with a rare gift for making philosophy accessible without dulling its force. Tooly’s personal quest becomes Rachman’s vehicle for exploring every grand theme that could preoccupy a thoughtful person.”

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Lucy Daniel, The Telegraph

“Some novels are such good company that you don’t want them to end; Tom Rachman knows this and has pulled off the feat of writing one.”

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Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Honestly, I found it impossible not to fall in love with shape-shifting Tooly. As an adult, she sports an ironical sense of humor and an attraction to dusty old books. As a child, her straight-faced mirth and wordplay are break-your-heart irresistible.”

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Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“The richness of this book is more apparent once the reading is over. In other words, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers is knottier than The Imperfectionists, and more deliberately confusing. Tooly has no home, and she moves through the world with different traveling companions.”

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Sam Leith, The Guardian

“To my taste, at least at the outset, Rachman steers dangerously close to being merely whimsical. There’s something slightly cutesy about the wall-to-wall eccentricity, something slightly precious about the fey withholding of information from the reader. Tooly isn’t quite the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype, but she threatens to be. You find yourself thinking: get on with it. But if you stick with it, Rachman hits his stride.”

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Fayer Nayeri, The Independent

“In The Imperfectionists, Rachman portrayed a world he knew well: the American newsroom in Europe. His characters were variations on a familiar stereotype – the expatriate American journalist. The inhabitants of this novel are often weirdos with wacky trajectories to whom the reader can never really relate. The one endearing exception is Tooly, who, despite implausible chinks in the plot, is a realistically depicted brooding young woman.”

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