This book is sweeping all before it and will probably pick up some major prizes and deservedly so. Walter is one of the novel's sweetest masters of the moment. He has the ability to write for today's reader in a wholly entrancing way. This book was obviously aimed at what it achieved--being the monster bestseller that places the author firmly at the top of the current crop of literary fiction writers. That's great. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It's a romp. Lots of action, lots of laughs, some romance, brilliant surface detail. My only quibble is that after reading Financial Lives of the Poets I thought Walters was headed for deeper waters. This is a book that suggests he may instead just play the bestseller-every-other-year game until his batteries run down and never write his Catch 22 or Herzog. Too bad.
I absolutely LOVED this book: maybe because it takes place often in the summer and I was in the mood for something summer-y, maybe because I'm an actress living in LA and much of the book revolves around the entertainment industry. But, most of all, I loved this book because of the writing. "Beautiful Ruins" is wonderfully written. Jess Walter twists together the different character's effortlessly. The end of each chapter left me content while simultaneously desiring to hear more about that person's path. It can be a little hard to start listening to each chapter because there are a lot of character's to follow. And sometime's I just wanted to hear the previous character's storyline continue. For example, the first chapter from Alvis Bender's point of view was hard to get into at first, but when it ended it was my favorite one in the book. Edoardo Ballerini is incredible. As an actor, I was impressed with his many dialects and inflections. He had his work cut out for him in this project and he rose to the occasion. It's a great novel by a great writer. Just give it a listen.
It's one of the most romantic stories I've ever read. Italy, Hollywood, long lost love, a little war, a little addiction, and wonderful writing! Also, wonderfully performed.
Beautiful Ruins is the perfect title. It describes each character as well as the landscape.
Don't miss it!
I loved everything about this book. I love the way the author weaves the details of the character's lives in so many setting and decades together so meaningfully. I love that this beautifully written book makes a strong point about the nature of being human. I love the author's subtle use of description to evoke the focal setting, coastal Italy.
In addition to the novel itself, I particularly enjoyed the narrator's voice. He doesn't butcher the lovely language of Italian. He puts just enough expression into the reading. I found myself tearing up repeatedly throughout listening the book, yet it doesn't leave me sad in the end.
I am usually drawn to mysteries or comedies, but was intrigued by the number of positive reviews. With most audiobooks, I listen while walking the dog or driving to work. But with Beautiful Ruins, I couldn't unplug the earbuds. I was immediately drawn into the characters and the author's rich descriptions of time and places.
I can't seem to stop reading, so Audible is perfect. Now I can "read" at times that were previously impossible. Walking, cleaning, cooking..
I loved the multiple story lines, and the way they all eventually interwove. Walter did an amazing job keeping everything moving and tying it all in without any loose ends.
The characters and how they were all so real. People trying to do their best in life (well, all except Michael Dean), but all of them were scarred and broken in some way. Just like the most interesting people in your own life.
I loved a lot of the scenes, but I think my favorite part was the recap where Walter broke even the minor characters. It was brutal, but so affecting.
I don't think I had any extremes, although I was caught up in it ever minute. There were definitely funny parts and truly heart-wrenching parts as well, but throughout it all, there was a sense of realism and the desire of the characters to just keep going. It truly was a reflection of real life to me.
I thought the narrator was perfect for this book. The story was a lovely get away and I enjoyed the time jumping.
The fact that it wasn't predictable.
Emotion, understanding, enthusiasm and pure entertainment.
I thought of sharing this book so that someone else may to have a great escape.
I have to start every review by sayning I hate to write reviews because: 1- taste is subjective, and 2- I hate most of what I read or listen to. That being said- I love the audio version of this book. I don't think I would have liked it so much if I read it. The narration is terrific. The story is compelling and I wanted it to go on forever. It's one of those "now what am I gonna read" stories because you know whatever book you read next will not be as good.
This story has Heart and Soul.
There are so many great reviews previously written I don't think there is anything new I could add.
I could listen to Edoardo Bellerini read the ingredients on a cereal box and it would take it to the next level. Listening to him read this book is sublime.
I love audible to listen to my books while commuting in the SF Bay Area. It makes the time go by so fast and keeps me engrossed.
A little slow at the beginning, but once it gets going it is quite a tail of two different times that finally mesh at the end with great stories and historical relevances that make it even more interesting.