I really can't say it any better than the publishers review. The writing was superb and eloquently read by Edoardo Ballerini, an excellent choice to perform this work. I thoroughly enjoyed the entangled plot between characters and times, and yet; would I say it was the best book I've read, or the most engrossing book: no, it was not. If you enjoy wonderful writing, interesting characters and the interplay and relationships between humans beings, then you will love this book. I highly recommend it.
I'm not sure really where this story is going, I'm 3/4 of the way through it and I'm struggling to finish it.
lives worth living
Freedom by johnathon franzen
characters are well developed, complex, flawed
-deals with family, love/hate, choices
his reading brought the story to life. He moves effortlessly between English and Italian which adds European flair to the story
Each character is well developed with entire chapters for each one. Michael Dean is a amoral, shallow, selfish sociopathic narcissist aka hollywood producer and alot of fun
the author took 15 years to write this book and it shows. Every word is perfect, almost like prose
I would think so, because of all the accents.
The Help. The narration was excellent for this book too.
I loved how he flowed so effortlessly from American, to Italian, from Male to Female. It was a pleasure just to listen to his performance.
I just didn't want it to end. I loved the ending, but if it just kept going, I would still be listening. I laughed out loud a few times. I could picture each person, young and old with the great descriptions.
I plan to listen to many more books written by Jess Walter and narrated by Edoardo Ballerini.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: I love a good dose of contrast in books. Beautiful Ruins contrasts between the charms of a small Italian coastal village in 1962 and the cynical world of modern day Hollywood where everyone is pitching for the latest reality TV show.
The cover and title of this book are a bit misleading – it looks like it’s going to be a romantic story set in that coastal Italian Village, but that’s only the half of it, I think I would have tired of it quickly without the contrast of flicking between the romantic past and the shallow present. It’s got a great cast of characters also:
Pasquale Tursi an Italian Hotelier with grand notions of making a beach and a tennis court beside his small empty hotel.
Alvis Bender, an American war veteran / failed novelist / successful drunk philosopher
Pat Bender, a has been musician, who’s on the brink of being a full time waster
Shane Wheeler, a wannabe playwright who manages to get a pitch with a casting agent…
Claire Silver, Film school graduate, whose soul sinks further with every ‘reality tv’ pitch she has to listen to.
Michael Deane: a horrible, a plastic-faced, movie exec, who puts a price tag on everything
Richard Burton – yes Richard Burton!
And Dee Moray – the Hollywood Starlet who links them all together through the past, present, Italy & Hollywood.
I really liked it – and it’s quite different than the cover makes it seem.
The audio is quite good, and won awards but thank God the Irish character is a minor role, that accent was woeful.
Modern. Compassionate. Realism.
(1) When Pasquale's friends attack the Mafia bully on his behalf - fantastic! Anytime an old timer starts shooting trespassers, you're in for a smile.(2) Pasquale sharing the bunker portraits with Dee is a really beautiful passage in the book. Brought back a lot of personal feelings for me (from my travels in the region).
All were great...But I loved Pasquale. The underdog. The guy just trying to 'do his best to be a good guy.'
Great question...something like...'There is still time to fix the things we've broken.'
Beautiful writing. Clever composition. Excellent narration. Loveable but faulty characters.
Mom of 3 and a book lover.
The story weave so well with the characters, and absolutely very entertaining! I've never been to Italy, and now I venture someday to go Italy for 2 weeks vacation.
I listened to this book on my drive home from work each evening. It made my hour commute go by much faster. Listening to the book made the story more interesting than if I would have read the book.
I enjoyed the story line with Pasquale. He was a lost soul and was a dreamer. I was anxious to see what would happen to him.
I would really like to see this in a movie. I enjoyed all of the characters story lines and how they eventually are woven together. The scenery would be beautiful in Italy.
It is a loooong book, and I think I might have liked it more if I'd read it, as I generally read faster than narrators narrate. But it is an interesting look at the contrast between New and Old Hollywood, and specifically at the time period when Burton and Taylor were filming Cleopatra.
Unlikely. It took a long while to absorb what essentially boiled down to a snarky depiction of almost everyone and every event in the book. I didn't think there was enough to this book to justify its length and detail. After awhile, I longed for an editor's pen.
Pasquale, who retained his humility, humanity, and innocence while everyone around him displayed greed, vanity, egotism, self-absorption, or a heartbreaking level of ignorance.
It was worth about 3/4 of the listening time. It is a good book. It is also too long.
There is a lot to like in this book -- a really fascinating look backward at Hollywood history, what appears to be a well informed rip of modern Hollywood, and flawed but interesting characters, plus a truly savagely funny depiction of a Hollywood producer. But it's not about anything truly important, so after awhile I really, really wished it were shorter.
I put this on my wish list some time ago, and can't really remember why. I began it recently when I realized it was the only book I had downloaded, and was about to board a long flight. I am so glad I did! It was a wonderful story, and wonderfully narrated. It is one of those books where I find I am missing the characaters now that I have finished it. I had not heard of Jess Walter previously, but will learn more now.