The rise & fall of great powers : a novel / Tom Rachman.
Booklist Reviews 2014 May #1
As a child, Tooly Zylberberg led a peripatetic existence. Paul, her less-than-attentive father, took her from from her unfit mother, and he and Tooly traveled from Australia to Bangkok, thanks to his short-term, government-funded computer assignments. Left to her own devices much of the time, it seemed inevitable that Tooly would fall in with a ragtag group of ex-pats—mercurial Sarah, Russian literature lover Humphrey, and their Svengali-like leader, Venn—who took her under their collective wing. What is not predictable, however, is that Tooly will be abducted once again when Venn and company elevate her from mascot to compatriot. Rachman, celebrated for The Imperfectionists (2010), spans the last 30 years in this tale of a rocky road to adulthood. Over the course of flashbacks and fast-forward escapades, Tooly gradually pieces together the jigsaw of her unconventional life to confront a complete picture that isn't always comforting. Rachman's kaleidoscopic second novel demonstrates that one's family is very often made up of the people you find and who find you along the way. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2013 December #1
Rachman follows his breakout debut, The Imperfectionists, with a novel featuring an American named Tooly Zylberberg, who runs a bookstore in Wales. Tooly is still confused after being abducted as a child and shuttled worldwide by book-loving Russian Humphrey, sexy Sarah, and mysterious ringleader Venn. Now she's trying to find out what really happened to her. With a six-city tour.[Page 69]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2014 May #1
Thirtyish Matilda "Tooly" Zylberberg lives quietly as the owner of a small bookstore in an isolated Welsh village. But her past has been nowhere near as sedate. Taken away from a home as a small child, Tooly moved around the world with Paul, a government contractor, who may or may not have been her real father. Entering fifth grade, she was taken away by Sarah and lived among a group of quirky characters, including Sarah, who grew up in Africa and may be her mother; Humphrey, a bookish old eccentric with a Russian accent; and Venn, a peripatetic hustler with a knack for landing on his feet. Then, a call from a former boyfriend in New York propels Tooly on a journey to understand her origins. VERDICT Rachman's novel is a mystery of sorts, moving episodically between 1988 and 2011 as the reader attempts to unravel the truth of Tooly's identity at the same time she does. In a novel where every character has created a semifictional persona, this is a tale about the mystery of the self, the power of books, and how truth and fiction can inextricably intermingle. A captivating, if slightly overlong puzzle of a novel by the author of The Imperfectionists. [See Prepub Alert, 12/7/13.]—Lawrence Rungren, Andover, MA[Page 71]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2014 March #4
Rachman follows up the debut success of The Imperfectionists with a suspenseful novel that whisks readers around the world, from Sydney to Bangkok to New York. This coming-of-age story focuses on the life of fiercely independent late-bloomer Tooly Zylberberg, who, in her early 30s, opens a ramshackle bookstore in the small Welsh town of Caergenog. Jumping between three decades, the global-scale mystery surrounding Tooly slowly unravels. It begins in 2011, when Tooly's ex-boyfriend contacts her about her dying former caretaker, whom he believes is her father. The novel weaves a critique of modern society through Tooly's odyssey, with a cast of characters grappling with the mundane realities of the 21st century. The novel loses steam toward the end, but the journey is still worth taking. Agent: Susan Golomb, Susan Golomb Agency. (May)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC