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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 (9272 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Susan Chatham, NJ, United States 01-17-13
    Susan Chatham, NJ, United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Loved this story!"
    If you could sum up Beautiful Ruins in three words, what would they be?

    Wonderful love story!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beautiful Ruins?

    The description of the paintings in the caves.


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    His fluent Italian and his spot on accent of an Italian speaking broken English.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end.


    Any additional comments?

    This story was very entertaining and made even more so by the narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K VANCOUVER, WA, United States 01-17-13
    K VANCOUVER, WA, United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Quite enjoyable"

    A lovely story with interesting characters. The only negative was the amount of jumping around with multiple story threads. To me, this makes it difficult to invest in characters. Because of this, it took awhile to get going and into it.

    The final chapter was a bit heavy handed, but wonderful and beautiful. You did kinda have to rack your brain to remember who was who and the audio version of the book made the delineation of some stories cloudy, but not to the point of anything overly negative.

    The narrator was very good, with a few pronunciation issues, but overall was fantastic.

    I do recommend. Especially great vacation book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy Helena 01-16-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Book, like hotel depicted, "adequate", no charm"

    Lots of characters and tangled plotlines, well-performed by the narrator, but a story without charm. Also a little unbelievable that Richard Burton would not have investigated just what happened to the woman pregnant with his child. And that the woman would not tell the child of his heritage when he was such a loser and might have benefited with some "self-esteem" from having a famous father. While I read it to the end, to see how it turned out, it felt flat. The author says he fell in love with the Cinqueterre, but this version of the area feels impoverished and less ravishingly beautiful than that place is today. Surely even tho' the era depicted was the war and the 60's, the place still is smashingly gorgeous, and that gets downplayed. The "Hotel Adequate View" that is the scene of much of the action kind of says it all about this book: adequate, but limited view, and I did not like any of the characters very much. Some wise and lyrical passages here and there. Narrator did the Italian accents very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne 01-15-13
    Suzanne 01-15-13
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    "Totally Shallow"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If the story would have some redeeming value. It was all about self absorbed people with horrible morals.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jess Walter again?

    no


    Would you be willing to try another one of Edoardo Ballerini’s performances?

    yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy 01-15-13
    Tammy 01-15-13

    Wife, mom of one amazing son, and I have the second best job in the world, working in a bookstore :)

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    "Better than expected"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely!! Because it is one of those satisfying stories. The narration is the best!! I think something would of been lost if you just read the book, the narrator "made" the story so rich and alive.


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

    I can't think of a similar book, but it would compare with any book you have read or listened to and were very satisfied. The story wraps up nicely, the characters very believable.


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

    Pasquale. He was so genuine, and so wise for being just a 22 year old innkeeper.


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

    My Italian Love?


    Any additional comments?

    It took me a couple tries to get into the story but once I did, I never looked back!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancy HAMPSTEAD, NC, United States 01-14-13
    nancy HAMPSTEAD, NC, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2016
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    "A Must Listen To!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beautiful Ruins to be better than the print version?

    I did not read the print version however, listening to the beautiful Itallian languge spoken and not read is certainly a plus. It makes the story more real.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beautiful Ruins?

    The meeting of everyone at the cabin.


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    Beautiful!!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A very romantic story and a personal awakening.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert San Francisco, CA, United States 01-14-13
    Robert San Francisco, CA, United States 01-14-13
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    "Delightful story and clever writing!"
    What did you love best about Beautiful Ruins?

    The writing is very amusing - witty and clever. Interweaving the essence of small town Italian culture with the decadence of Hollywood provides a lot of opportunity for amusing encounters. The prose is delightful and the author deftly moves between the stories time sequences. This is one of those all too rare books that will make you smile, occasionally laugh out loud and also appreciate the sorrows of life and love.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beautiful Ruins?

    About a third of the way through the book, the reader is given the opportunity to understand how all the stories are interconnected. Although this can be a very funny book, it feels bittersweet to sense the deep emotion and history of the characters.


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    His narration and accents allows you to visualize the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended - a delightful book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna Cooley 01-14-13
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    "Narration made this a must."
    What made the experience of listening to Beautiful Ruins the most enjoyable?

    The narration is what sold me, his voice is captivating and easy to listen to.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aileen Florence, SC, United States 01-14-13
    Aileen Florence, SC, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2012
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    11
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    "I loved this!"
    What made the experience of listening to Beautiful Ruins the most enjoyable?

    This was a wonderful book. I loved the stories and how they were told


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynnwood Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States 01-14-13
    Lynnwood Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting Characters"

    The story is developed in an interesting and intricate manner. The characters are all somewhat caricatures but taken together they make a fun story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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