The Rise and Fall of Great Powers

The Rise and Fall of Great Powers

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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The New York Times and Globe & Mail -bestselling author of The Imperfectionists returns with an intricately woven novel about a bookseller who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past.
Tooly Zylberberg tells a story: as a child, she was stolen from home, stashed at a den of thieves, then adopted by crooks there, who ended up raising her and even using the little girl in capers around the globe. But Tooly understands only fragments of what happened in Thailand, Italy, New York and beyond. Then, a desperate message reaches her musty bookshop in Wales, and she is lured into a journey that will reveal the secret of her childhood. Celebrated for his ingenious plotting, humanity and humor, Tom Rachman has written a novel that will amplify his reputation as one of the most exciting young writers today.
Publisher: New York : The Dial Press, c2014
ISBN: 9780385676953
9780679643654
Branch Call Number: RACHM
Characteristics: 384 pages

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b
brangwinn
Jul 07, 2016

Moving back and forth between 3 time periods, we gradually learn the background of the independent Tilly, who we first meet as owner of a bookstore in a small Welsh village. Lots of questions arise as you read about Tilly and what really happened to her…like is her father really her father, or has he kidnapped her. Well laid plot line takes us to the end of the book to be able to put all the pieces in the right place.

s
singasong70
Jul 09, 2015

*
Definite let down afterThe Imperfectionists. No laughs, no wry smiles, no "he really nailed that character/scene didn't he?" Better title for this book would be The Misfits (or is that taken)?
Reminded me of Lolita in spots (re: Humphrey character especially), difficult to get through, boring in spots, nor did it hang together all that well either. Not sure why I finished it tho I kept thinking it'd redeem itself in time- it didn't.

g
GLNovak
Apr 15, 2015

I wasn't sure if I was going to carry on with this book. I was very confused at first, and then went back and read the chapter headings and realized that I was jumping around in Matilda 'Tooly' Zylberberg's life. Of course if you only see her in 2011. 1988, and 1999 you would be confused too. Tooly is a peculiar kind of person who runs a failing bookstore in Wales and apparently had a vagabond childhood that involved a computer analyst father, a Russian emigre babysitter, a tempestuous woman, and a mysterious wheeler dealer named Venn. Along the way there is also a short affair with an aspiring law student. As I progressed I was pulled in to the story and really hooked. I thought the writing was good and the characters well-drawn considering you only met them in snippets. The author expands the snippets to full accounts so that by the end all becomes clear.

u
uncommonreader
Jan 27, 2015

This novel is somewhat of a mystery, revealed in alternating time periods and locations. It has a slow beginning, good middle, and disappointing, feel-good ending.

josh2112 Dec 12, 2014

I loved this book, in a grey, sad kind of way, highly recommend it, but not if you are already a bit down.
The characters are brilliant and one starts off loving them and then sees the other side, the author does a wonderful job of moving our vision of them from light to dark and then redeeming others. I cried at several points. Then main character is damaged, but arent we all, some in more interesting ways then others, hers was interesting and finally not as tragic as it could have been.

m
mmjeffers
Nov 14, 2014

A great book, my favorite read of 2014.

t
toby65
Nov 13, 2014

Loved Rachman's first novel "The imperfectionists"
However, I found this new novel tough going with all the back and forth of time. Hard to keep track. Hard to care about Tooly.

Although this book has received rave reviews, I struggled to be bothered finishing it.

alexica Aug 19, 2014

I liked "The Imperfectionists" and so read "The Rise and Fall". Unfortunately, it was not a satisfying read for me. At no point did I really care for any of the characters or what happened to them and they mostly were a pretty grisly group. One of the reviews uses the word strange and the book is that. Another calls the main character, "humane." I don't think I would agree with that. She's basically damaged and acts accordingly until the end when she tries to rectify her actions. It would seem that she would have caught on much sooner and become a "humane" person. It might be the kind of book someone would write if they were in mourning for the death of a loved one, perhaps a sister.

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