I was incredibly impressed with this story. The plot was intricate, detailing the lives of separate characters. The author demonstrate a great level of diversity in being able to write in different styles and to be able to put himself in the shoes of so many very different characters and to make it believable.
The story changes time, location, and character often, not in chronological order, keeping things interesting and engaging. In addition to this, the lives of these characters all seem to connect at one point or another and it is incredible and exciting each new connection is revealed.
A theme in this book is responsibility. The motto of one character is "We want what we want." However, the motto of another, and I think a pivotal point in the book, is that sometimes, we may want one thing, but we know it is RIGHT for us to do another. This becomes clear in a small, easily overlooked scene, but very important one, when a young version of one of the main characters finds a ring in the sand, dropped from the bag of a beautiful woman. He glances at his mother, and then returns the ring to the woman. His mother then tells him that she hopes he would do the right thing even if she weren't watching one day.
In addition to an excellent plot, story, and character development, the imagery the author evokes in his writing is superb. I found myself swept away onto the shores of a forgotten town in Italy, into an audience watching a play, or onto a hectic set in Hollywood. I found myself seeing the world through each character's eyes, and being able to see, taste, smell, and experience just through the excellent use of words.
The book is not written in a heavy manner. The text is light, easy to understand, and enjoyable.
Also, while some books may end in a certain point in the life of character, just when you've come to love them, this author has chosen to end the book with you knowing exactly what became of all of the characters, offering closure, lessening the grief that sometimes a reader might have after finishing a book and losing the "friendship" that has been developed with those characters. I felt like I walked away from this text knowing that things ended a certain way. It was a unique way of closing a story, a peaceful way, and I really liked that.
Finally, Edoardo Ballerini performs the audio reading in such a great way. He is one of those readers that bring the story to life. I loved when he spoke Italian in the text. It was so musical. He inserted dramatic pauses, a variety of vocal intonations, and didn't have any annoying tics that sometimes audio readers can have unknowingly.
This is definitely a worthwhile book to enjoy!
There is not much I can say about Jess Walter's writing that hasn't already been said. Buy this book. Listen to it.
Ballerini is a fantastically talented narrator. He brought each character to life without ever taking me away from the story. To hear the Italian spoken was wonderful.
I would listen to the book again and pay more attention to some of the characters and their development.
The weaving of several wonderful stories
I though the narrator was great. I really enjoyed the descriptions and interactions with the Italian fisherman and each scene which included the fisherman whose wife uses his carbine as a garden stake was priceless.
The characters were incredibly depressing. The title is apt. Each one of them is a "ruin" and makes a "ruin" of their lives except for one, Pasquale Torsi. The long winded descriptions, hyperbole, similies, metaphors sucked the life out of the plot. While the author is obviously a great writer, I got really tired of the flowerly language.
Excellent use of accents and different speaking voices to portray the different characters. Very smooth. His narration made the book palatable and greatly enhanced the story.
Maybe if the scenery looked gorgeous.
In spite of the wonderful reviews this book seemed to get from everyone, I found it fair to middling at best. There were too many characters and stories and that just muddied up what could have been a good story, but I'm not sure which of the stories was the good one! ....and Richard Burton? PLEASE. I did finish it because I kept hoping it would get better, but it never did.
Brooklyn dog owner and detective story fan. I also enjoy memoirs, short stories and literary fiction.
A great audiobook for fans of A Visit from the Goon Squad. Well performed, this would make a great listen for a summer holiday in Italy.
Pasquale is intriguing and thoughtful~ and the narrator's voice conjures up this Italian innkeeper's dreamy thought processes perfectly.
Too many to count.
The Accidental Destination
This is a tour de force~ not quick by any means, but lingering, like an Italian sunset.
Loved being inside the characters of so many different voices and life outlooks. Just really good reading with a perfect flow, never a lull and an ending that left you feeling good about life.
I wasn't sure when purchasing this book, but the reviews helped me believe I would like it. The story spans the parallel lives of our key characters, and at every turn you think you know what might happen next - but it doesn't. A true "love story" created out of respect, good honest living and the decades it spans. The book bounces from character to character as the chapters unfold, but I never got lost as or confused you can in some books with this type of story line. My most memorable moment is toward the end in a simple and satisfying exchange between two friends who have not seen each other in 50 years, "What took you so long?" - "I had things to do". Brilliant.