The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

3.65 (7,357 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$27.00

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


NPR - "The Seattle Times - The Globe and Mail - Kirkus Reviews - Daily Mail - The Vancouver Sun"
For fans of Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, and Donna Tartt--the brilliant, intricately woven new novel by Tom Rachman, author of "The Imperfectionists"
Following one of the most critically acclaimed fiction debuts in years, "New York Times" bestselling author Tom Rachman returns with a brilliant, intricately woven novel about a young woman who travels the world to make sense of her puzzling past.
Tooly Zylberberg, the American owner of an isolated bookshop in the Welsh countryside, conducts a life full of reading, but with few human beings. Books are safer than people, who might ask awkward questions about her life. She prefers never to mention the strange events of her youth, which mystify and worry her still.
Taken from home as a girl, Tooly found herself spirited away by a group of seductive outsiders, implicated in capers from Asia to Europe to the United States. But who were her abductors? Why did they take her? What did they really want? There was Humphrey, the curmudgeonly Russian with a passion for reading; there was the charming but tempestuous Sarah, who sowed chaos in her wake; and there was Venn, the charismatic leader whose worldview transformed Tooly forever. Until, quite suddenly, he disappeared.
Years later, Tooly believes she will never understand the true story of her own life. Then startling news arrives from a long-lost boyfriend in New York, raising old mysteries and propelling her on a quest around the world in search of answers.
Tom Rachman--an author celebrated for humanity, humor, and wonderful characters--has produced a stunning novel that reveals the tale not just of one woman but of the past quarter-century as well, from the end of the Cold War to the dominance of American empire to the digital revolution of today. Leaping between decades, and from Bangkok to Brooklyn, this is a breathtaking novel about long-buried secrets and how we must choose to make our own place in the world. It will confirm Rachman's reputation as one of the most exciting young writers we have.
Praise for "The Rise & Fall of Great Powers"
""Ingenious . . . Rachman needs only a few well-drawn characters to fill a large canvas and an impressive swath of history. . . . 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."--Ron Charles, "The Washington Post"
" "
"Rachman creates this whole world of complicated, flawed and endearing characters who keep you wanting more."--NPR
"Marvelously written . . . 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"
" "
"[An] engaging and inventive coming-of-age novel."--"San Francisco Chronicle"
"A bookshop-lover's book, and beautiful prose-lover's book, and read-it-all-in-one-weekend book."--"The New Republic"
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 162 x 245 x 34mm | 617g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0679643656
  • 9780679643654
  • 1,825,825

Review quote

Praise for "The Rise & Fall of Great Powers"
""This book is mesmerising: a thorough work-out for the head and heart that targets cognitive muscles you never knew you had. Thanks, though, to Rachman's lightness of touch and quite considerable streaks of silliness, it feels much more like dancing than exercise."--"The Times "(UK)
"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. . . . Rachman has written a hugely likeable, even loveable book about the people we meet and how they shape us."--"The Telegraph "(UK)
"A bookshop-lover's book, and beautiful prose-lover's book, and read-it-all-in-one-weekend book."--"The New Republic "
"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"
"The haunting tale of a young woman reassessing her turbulent past . . . brilliantly structured, beautifully written."--"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)
"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."--"Booklist"
"A suspenseful novel that whisks readers around the world . . . [a journey] worth taking."--"Publishers Weekly"
"A tale about the mystery of the self, the power of books, and how truth and fiction can inextricably intermingle . . . captivating."--"Library Journal"
Praise 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"
"Marvelous . . . a rich, thrilling bo
show more

About Tom Rachman

Tom Rachman was born in London in 1974 and raised in Vancouver. He attended the University of Toronto and Columbia Journalism School, then worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in New York and Rome and for the "International Herald Tribune" in Paris. His first novel, "The Imperfectionists, " was an international bestseller, translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in London.
show more

Rating details

7,357 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 21% (1,537)
4 38% (2,805)
3 29% (2,127)
2 9% (674)
1 3% (214)

Our customer reviews

In The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman, we meet Tooly Zylberberg at three points in her life. In 2011, Tooly is a thirty-something bookseller. In 1999, Tooly is a young-adult in New York City. In 1988, Tooly is a young girl moving from place to place. The book is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. As you fit more and more pieces in, a picture of Tooly's life emerges. Read my complete review at: *** Reviewed based on a copy received through a publisherâ??s giveaway ***show more
by Nada A.
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X