Beautiful Ruins is the kind of novel that when you finish reading it, you gently take out your earphones and reflect. Jess Walters’ storytelling kept me pleasantly engaged with the characters as they navigated different eras (and places) in their life journeys. Edoardo Ballerini's characterizations were well done, adding to my immersion into the story (unlike other narrators who can be over-the-top and distracting).
If you don’t like character studies, or simply want a “point A to point B” book, then look elsewhere. But I found the journey surprisingly entertaining, humorous, and moving. I don’t usually write reviews, but I am so impressed with Beautiful Ruins that I want others to experience it as well. Enjoy.
yes-the story takes you away
the narrorator and Italian that I would have skipped over if I were reading the book
his accents and smooth Italian as well as the way he changed the way he spoke for different characters-sometimes this is annoying but, with him it was great!
I think I'd listen to this narrator reading a food shopping list. The story is told in the present and in a series of flashbacks, about romance, relationships and what gives our lives value and meaning. Taking place on the Italian coast (in the past), Hollywood (in the present) and on the Western plains of the US in the 1800s (a side story). Fun read, you can't go wrong.
I am still relatively new to audio books, but this was a nice book and a good listen. For some reason I hesitated liking this book... it wasn't until part 2 that I was really hooked.
Great voice, he really added a special element to this book.
I listened to part 2 in one setting :)
Altogether a great story- although I did have trouble hanging on in part one -part 2 was worth the wait. A thorough book, liked the intertwining of lives and stories.
I don't usually rush out for all the "best sellers", but give each intriguing book/author a look. I have found many diamonds in the rough.
I tried.,,,,I felt that I had picked up a book at a drug store to read at the beach because I didn't want to destroy my hardback.... You get what you pay for. I was so waiting for a, or some, characters to save the story. Shallow characters. A reprieve throughout with some beautiful Italian scenes. That being said.. Comparing love to zombies wanting brains,... A repetative, rehabilitated, drug addicted, wondering main character... 1960 male dominated actress told a grave, despicable untruth...surprise. Current Hollywood,.. enough said. Oh, and a movie script of, The Donner Party, being produced for $80 million. What? I could not warp my brain into thinking this was a good anything...., love story, mystery,....epic, huh? Sorry, I wanted to love this book as much as some of the reviewers.
The narration of this story was part of what made it so fantastic. The narrator brought the characters to life and was able to change his voice enough to make it believable but not hokey. Very interesting/surprising story and witty.
I don't think it compares to anything else. It's a very modern tale yet somehow captures nostalgia and universal human longing. Plus it's extremely entertaining and funny.
I am a 45 year old stay- at-home dad with two teenagers.
Yes. Well narrated, good pace.
The characters intertwine through experience, age and time. Great development of characters and plot.
I did not have a single fav. Liked them all!
This was a gorgeous and well-crafted story. Effortlessly transitioning from 1960's Italy to present-day Los Angeles, the story spans decades and characters. This is another story for which I'd like to recommend the audiobook narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. He is a talented storyteller and brings each character to life with his careful inflection - not once does his performance pull you out of the story, rather it accentuates it. A young Italian bed and breakfast owner/dreamer, an unknown actress, and the Hollywood machine in luscious settings make for an unforgettable story.
People who like drug store bestseller books (think "The Help") might enjoy this one more. The plot was pretty contrived and drawn out - if the book were a third thinner, maybe it would move better. I bought this because it got such high reviews on Audible but by the end of it i was forcing myself to listen and hoping the main character would die.
to be fair the narrator is great.
All the indulgent chapters that revolved around explaining movie plotlines or acting out a scene from a play. Also the ENTIRE ANNOYING CHARACTER that is "Pat"
The layered storytelling, different voices, unexpected twists, and the surprising appearance of places and themes that I know and love.
Pasquale. He is the catalyst without whom the story would not move forward. More than that, he's a good man. Usually, especially in drama, the good man is a cardboard cutout of a figure and the more interesting characters are deeply flawed, giving them depth and requiring much more exploration. Good characters are generally straightforward and boring. But not so Pasquale. He, like all of us, struggles to do the right thing. And it is in this struggle, completely opposite to the "cinema people" around him and so much like ourselves, that makes him so appealing. He does the right thing the first time around. He doesn't need the journey of struggle, failure and redemption. He struggles and is redeemed without needing the journey through hell. As the catalyst, and as a good man, the story can pivot around him and as readers/listeners, we cheer for him for doing the right thing and through his story, we too are redeemed.
The beauty and music of fluent Italian. Also a unique voice for each of the characters that somehow manages to reflect age, gender, regional accent, emotional state, etc., all without devolving into caricatures.
Having grown up in central Washington state, I know that the pronunciations of Cle Elum and Kittatas can be tricky. Even President Kennedy once mispronounced Spokane. However, I'm happy to forgive the slip of the tongue in exchange for the brilliance of fluent Italian.
Yes, but due to life interfering, I had to break it down into several sittings. In fact, I was thankful to get sick so that I could listen to the last half without feeling that I should be doing something else.
I highly recommend this book. It's masterful storytelling narrated by a masterful vocal artist.