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Beautiful Ruins Audiobook

Beautiful Ruins

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Jess Walter’s beautiful and shimmering novel was our editors’ pick for Best Book of 2012, so it was an obvious contender as a new Essential. But Essentials can’t simply be flash-in the pan momentary book crushes, the books on this list have to have legs, and we think that Beautiful Ruins certainly qualifies. Sweeping in scope and breadth, the message within this book runs deep and across generations. And Edoardo Ballerini’s magnificent and elegant narration bestows a level of believability and immediacy to the epic themes at play here. —Emily

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Nominee, Fiction and Best Solo Narration, 2013

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning 50 years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist, and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion - along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

©2012 Jess Walter (P)2012 HarperCollins Publisher

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (9570 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Fort Wayne 02-04-13
    Amazon Customer Fort Wayne 02-04-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Stopped listening after a few chapters."
    Any additional comments?

    I stopped listening after a few chapters. I might try again when I'm bored.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    H. Anthony Melbourne Australia 02-04-13
    H. Anthony Melbourne Australia 02-04-13 Listener Since 2008

    Lizzie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"

    I feel I wasted my credit on this one; I went off other recommendations but I found it very slow; I couldn't stick with it and jumped to the end just to see what happened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim United States 02-04-13
    Kim United States 02-04-13
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    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Hard to get into, slow to develope."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I just couldn't get into this story. It started off too slow and still hadn't picked up the pace by the 5th chapter.


    What could Jess Walter have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    While I appreciated the author's descriptive elements with regards to the characters and scenery, at times it was overkill and just not necessary. It really made the book drag.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I thought the narrator did well with the Italian accent necessary for certain characters, however I didn't care for his overall performance. His narration of female voices was too airy and wishy-washy, almost making the primary character sound dippy and contrary to how the author described her.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan ROANOKE, IN, United States 02-04-13
    Joan ROANOKE, IN, United States 02-04-13
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    "Confused"
    Any additional comments?

    Just really not sure why Audible picked this as the best book of 2012. I was expecting absolute greatness and didn't get it. Have read better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cecelia Saunders Fairfax, Virginia, United States 02-02-13
    Cecelia Saunders Fairfax, Virginia, United States 02-02-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Chosen on Cindy's Review"

    I too clicked on the icon of the book by mistake. When I read Cindy's review I was intrigued.
    She said it was the best mistake she ever made. I ordinarily would not have picked this book. In fact, I passed it over many times in viewing my audible selections.
    This book is wonderful!! I usually go for thrillers, but I have to say that after this book, I will expand my horizons. The ending was beautiful. The narration was excellent!!! 5 stars to you Jess Walter!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dfi Jasper, GA United States 02-01-13
    dfi Jasper, GA United States 02-01-13 Member Since 2005

    Diane

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    "A beautiful story, a spellbinding book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Definitely recommended. The story is compelling, and the characters are people to care about.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Pasquale Tursi's sweetness was the best part for me. I get very tired of revolting characters; Pasquale is the opposite, a person to love.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Pasquale and Dee in the abandoned gun turret was a scene so beautifully rendered that I felt I was there with them, seeing sunlight hit the paintings on the wall.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I stayed glued to the book, emotions shifting, but never in a violent way.


    Any additional comments?

    The story and the narrator meld together to provide an unforgettable experience for the listener. I'll wait a while, then listen to this one again . . . and again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ásdís Siglufjörður, Iceland 02-01-13
    Ásdís Siglufjörður, Iceland 02-01-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Good book."

    I am not much for telling you what story's are about, but more of how I felt during listening to them. I felt content with this very good story and I recommend it to all. Is is very well narrated and really worth the time spent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wright 01-31-13
    wright 01-31-13
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    11
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    "What a GEM"

    story unwinds beautifully. always captivating. The reader is taken across time to learn the story. characters develop forward and backward in time. WOW

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina colorado springs, co, United States 01-30-13
    Christina colorado springs, co, United States 01-30-13
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    "Pay attention to the story line"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Depends on the friend. Would have to be someone who enjoys the superficial of persons and doesn't get annoyed by selfishness.


    Which character – as performed by Edoardo Ballerini – was your favorite?

    Dee


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No. At times it was gripping. But whent he end rolled around I was left disappointed.


    Any additional comments?

    Probably a few too many characters. The richness of some was lost in the lack of exploration of others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois Knoxville, TN, United States 01-30-13
    Lois Knoxville, TN, United States 01-30-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Beautiful Surprise!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beautiful Ruins to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Beautiful Ruins to and why?

    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.


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    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.


    If you could rename Beautiful Ruins, what would you call it?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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