The Rise & Fall Of Great Powers

Hardcover | April 18, 2016

byTom Rachman

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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.

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From the Publisher

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 end...

Born in London and raised in Vancouver, TOM RACHMAN is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Columbia School of Journalism. He was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press (stationed in Rome, with assignments taking him to Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and Egypt, among other places). From 2006 to 2008, he worked as an e...

other books by Tom Rachman

The Imperfectionists: A Novel
The Imperfectionists: A Novel

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The Rise & Fall Of Great Powers: A Novel
The Rise & Fall Of Great Powers: A Novel

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The Imperfectionists
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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.51 × 6.43 × 1.28 inPublished:April 18, 2016Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385676956

ISBN - 13:9780385676953

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A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014A Globe and Mail Best Book of 2014“[An] ingenious second novel . . . Mr. Rachman zigzags from [1988] to 1999-2000 to 2011, as he tells the story of a woman who bears witness to decades of rapid cultural, political and technological changes. . . . [He] needs only a few well-drawn characters to fill a large canvas and an impressive swath of history. . . . [A] set of Venn diagrams of how the book’s characters overlap would reveal many secrets about its story. . . . The richness of this book is more apparent once the reading is over. . . . For all its serious points, this book is never too busy for hilarity.”–Janet Maslin, The New York Times “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. . . . The Rise & Fall of Great Powers eventually lays out the whole trajectory of Tooly’s life and shines light on the dark mysteries of her scrambled childhood. . . . Now beyond resentment or blame, she just wants a usable past and someone worthy of her tender heart. Rachman is certainly such a person, and in these pages, you may discover that you are, too.” –Ron Charles, The Washington Post “For a novel that takes place on three different continents over a period of 30 years, Tom Rachman’s The Rise & Fall of Great Powers is a surprisingly small story. That’s probably what makes it so good: Even with all the flights of fancy and exotic locales, the characters in it are beautifully human, even if half of them are con artists with Dickensian names. After his much acclaimed 2010 debut, The Imperfectionists, Rachman uses this follow-up to prove he’s a writer to watch.” –The Onion/AV Club (Grade: A) “Rachman clearly has Dickens in mind as inspiration for this sprawling tale of an orphan cast out onto the world and belatedly investigating the mystery of her origins. . . . Its pleasures are almost architectural. . . .  you may come to admire, as I did, the precision of its observations, as well as its intricate form and the way stray plot pieces eventually snap into place.” –Maureen Corrigan, NPR “Tom Rachman’s second novel is a great jigsaw-puzzle of a book, spanning a quarter of a century and with its pieces scattered all over the world. . . . It’s in something of that spirit that, as the book moves towards its end, the strange gravities that hold its constellation of characters together start to make sense – upsetting both Tooly’s and the reader’s expectations in a satisfying and rather poignant way. . . I’ll keep The Rise & Fall of Great Powers on my shelf.” –The Guardian“Tom Rachman provides surprises until the very last page, adding to the satisfaction of following Tooly’s journey over decades. Her story is sad, yet promising, and a reminder that it’s never too late to be a better person.” —Chatelaine“Rachman’s comedic powers drive the story, with grace and wit lavished on plentiful asides about the value of books. . . . [He] can compose sentences, paragraphs and whole pages with near perfect pitch and rhythm.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune “Tom Rachman scores again. . . . Tooly is plucky and admirable and so fully drawn that you watch with horror as she makes terrible and cruel choices through her young adulthood. . . . [W]e watch with admiration as Tooly’s heart opens up and she does her best to correct and amend for her past behaviors…A satisfying adult novel with a hopeful ending.” –The Oregonian  “Tremendously readable, with characters who often spark and jump off the page, and a central puzzle that grips you until the end.” –The Huffington Post“Rachman’s novel succeeds thanks to the captivating and contrasting personalities of his supporting characters . . . compulsively readable.” —The Miami Herald “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 . . . a hugely likeable, even loveable book about the people we meet and how they shape us.” —The Telegraph “Tom Rachman has done it again—[he has] written a novel that’s innovative and that keeps readers guessing, but that isn’t just a gimmick. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers has everything that classic novels have—a cast of intriguing and unique characters, a compelling storyline and laser-sharp insights into humanity.” —The Vancouver Sun “Rachman once again proves himself a master of painting characters with a fine eye for detail. . . . For the wanderers and those enamored with the written word, Rachman’s latest is a treat to be devoured.” —Examiner.com, starred review “[Rachman’s] new novel is weightier, more focused and considerably more melancholy, but it still exhibits the author’s impish wit and his fondness for tangled stories.” —The Washington Post“Tremendously readable, with characters who often spark and jump off the page, and a central puzzle that grips you until the end.” —The Huffington Post “When a Tom Rachman novel lands in the bookstores I stop living and breathing to devour it. It’s hard to think of anyone who has a better grasp on the world we live in (and I mean, like, the entire planet) and can write about it with such entertainment and panache.” —Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure “Rachman’s powers are unconventional characters who each possess what one calls ‘an acorn of sadness.’ The pleasure in reading his book comes from watching him gnaw over that acorn before it grows into a forest of sorrow.” —Dallas Morning News “This is a brilliant and highly accomplished novel, and so much of the wisdom it contains happens in the background that it isn’t until after reading it, or re-reading it, that much becomes clear. This is what fiction is all about. It is impossible to overstate its power and elegance.” —The Globe and Mail “Rachman is a gifted wordsmith. As in The Imperfectionists, there’s grace, beauty and wisdom here.” —National Post “The Rise & Fall of Great Powers is an intricate, sprawling and almost Dickensian novel . . . a compelling page-turner.” —USA Today“While Rachman's novel offers no easy answers, it provides a worthwhile investigation into our insatiable need for self-knowledge, a desire that is profoundly and inescapably part of what it means to be human.” —Chicago Tribune“The Rise & Fall of Great Powers is so marvelously written that even the occasional long-winded passages have wit and grandeur. The book . . . is highly recommended for its prose and for presenting us with the strangely endearing, surprisingly good-natured, unabashedly weird character named Matilda ‘Tooly’ Zylberberg.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch“A modern fable of people tied together by fraying, in some cases, illusory threads . . . suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the emotional glue that binds humanity is re-forming even as it dissolves.” —Maclean’s“The Rise & Fall of Great Powers is a skillfully crafted and absorbing novel which captures reader interest from its opening chapter. As the narrative shifts from Asia to Europe to North America and criss-crosses both geographic and emotional boundaries, it spawns a wealth both of memorable personalities and of food for thought. Rachman’s is a book to own and to savour.” —Stratford Beacon Herald“Rachman is a gifted wordsmith. As in The Imperfectionists, there’s grace, beauty and wisdom here.” —The Calgary Herald“Rachman has a marvellous time pinpointing the power play that’s going on in [his characters’] lives. . . . Bring on the third masterpiece.” —The Sydney Morning HeraldPraise for The Imperfectionists:"So good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off. . . . The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching, and it's assembled like a Rubik's Cube." —Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review, cover review "Filled with gorgeous writing, jolts of insight and narrative surprises that feel both unexpected and inevitable. One finishes reading The Imperfectionists with the sense that Rachman not only knows his way around a newsroom, but is also well acquainted with storytelling masters such as Anton Chekhov and William Trevor. Rachman makes a near-flawless debut." —The Globe and Mail