Edoardo Bellerini is possibly the best narrator I have ever listened to. There is no doubt that his impeccable narration added to my enjoyment of Jess Walter's novel. Many narrators are not able to successfully read with different accents or different genders - Bellerini does it beautifully, and truly captures the personalities of each character, as well as the humor in the book.
In a way it reminded me of Seating Arrangements, though I'm not sure why; maybe because it exposes the flaws of the characters. The technique of alternating between the past and the present reminds me of Olive Kittredge and Gone Girl. But in reality, Beautiful Ruins bears no resemblance to these stories.
His voice is strong. He absolutely gets the book, so his voice reflects humor when the story is funny, and is solemn when the story is sad. Bellerini has the rare talent of being able to read the male and female parts convincingly. He also does a good job with the Italian and the Italian accents of Pasquale and the other Italiian characters. Bellerini could read the phone book and I would listen! I think of all of the audiobooks I haven't enjoyed, and I wonder how my listening experience would change if Bellerini narrated them.
I like the name, but I titled my review Beautiful Surprises because this book was a complete surprise to me, not only in the plot, but because I was never sure what was going to happen to the characters. And I cared about each one, even the completely obnoxious ones! I also was expecting a drama, and got so much more.
I have read all of this series, have enjoyed them immensely, and find this to be the most enjoyable. The characters, as usual, are highly developed and seem to come to life. It's fun, too, having a history with these characters, and much of the plot is a continuation of their past exploits. I would carefully dole out my listening time because I didn't want to get to the end! The narrator is terrific. If you've never read any of these books, start with the first one.
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