We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Beautiful Ruins | [Jess Walter]

Beautiful Ruins

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.
Regular Price:$26.45
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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

3.9 (6219 )
5 star
 (2213)
4 star
 (2191)
3 star
 (1174)
2 star
 (370)
1 star
 (271)
Overall
3.9 (5379 )
5 star
 (1914)
4 star
 (1830)
3 star
 (1069)
2 star
 (330)
1 star
 (236)
Story
4.3 (5385 )
5 star
 (2817)
4 star
 (1630)
3 star
 (666)
2 star
 (139)
1 star
 (133)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    S. Brown USA 08-29-12
    S. Brown USA 08-29-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very engrossing book and top notched performance"
    Where does Beautiful Ruins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's definitely one of the top 5 books I have listened to. The weaving of the story line between settings in both time and place is brilliant!


    What does Edoardo Ballerini bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is a real actor! He brings the many different characters to life.


    Any additional comments?

    This one is a must!!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Bryson City, NC, United States 08-28-12
    Monica Bryson City, NC, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful and captivating"
    Who was the most memorable character of Beautiful Ruins and why?

    I loved the Italian Innkeeper, Pasquale.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderful book.A sweet and interesting story that is beuatifully told. I loved how different eras were seemlessly woven into the narrative. I usually read mysterys or thrillers, but this captured my attention and I was sad when it was over. I wish more books/audio books were like this.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Dallas, TX, United States 08-28-12
    Connie Dallas, TX, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun Summer Read"

    Story was thoroughly enjoyable. The description and action in Italy was as if you were there and could see that tennis court overhanging the cliffs. The narrator did an excellent job. The story which was told past and present all came together in a very satisfying way and the journey was quite enjoyable.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Dallas, Texas, United States 08-28-12
    Connie Dallas, Texas, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun Summer Read"

    Story was thoroughly enjoyable. The description and action in Italy was as if you were there and could see that tennis court overhanging the cliffs. The narrator did an excellent job. The story which was told past and present all came together in a very satisfying way and the journey was quite enjoyable.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Starkville, MS, United States 08-28-12
    Lynn Starkville, MS, United States 08-28-12 Member Since 2011

    As an entreprenuer, it is hard for me to shut off my brain! It is also hard for me to sit still! I love audibles! I can exercise, work on "chores" , travel and be entertained! Always looking for a good story!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Touching and thoughtful"

    Sometimes during the book, I had difficulty keeping up with where we were and who we were talking about. However some of the early reviews I read were dead on. The story is well crafted and it allowed me to learn so much about a lot of subjects. Additionally. I hated for the book to end. A wonderful weaving together of life stories whose lives intersect. I finished the book days ago and find myself still musing about these characters.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rand malloy yakima, wa 08-27-12
    rand malloy yakima, wa 08-27-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mildly engaging"

    After reading the glowing reviews of this book I was excited to listen to it. The imagery and skill of writing I heard in the first passages made me think the book was going to live up to the accolades it had received. I found the storyline mildly engaging. The fictional backstory to the Richard Burton connection was intriguing, the plot twists were effective, and there were several interesting, well-developed characters, but the pacing was SO slow. Pacing is most critical in audio books because when we're listening, we can't skim through the tedious parts. The writer clearly has talent, and in the hands of a skilled editor this book could have been a treasure.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Damascus, OR, United States 08-27-12
    Carol Damascus, OR, United States 08-27-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lose yourself for a while on the coast of Italy"
    Any additional comments?

    The Italian coast along the Cinque Terre is so lovely and so beautifully described in this book, that I got lost in the setting before I had any idea how this clever plot would unfold. I loved the performance on this audio book. So listenable ;-) I couldn't wait to get back to the characters and find out how this story would unfold. As a bonus, if you are tired of the ridiculous "reality" shows on TV and the fact that so many contemporary movies are recycled comic book stories, you will enjoy one of the main story lines of this book. A real treat !

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 08-19-12
    Sandra 08-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ho Hum!"

    Such a slow start to an okay story. I was looking for an exciting entertaining read, it was not this book During the last hour when all the stories came together did it get somewhat Interesting. Had to read it for my book club meeting or I would have never finished it. Actually, the rest of the members made a second selection to avoid completing it.. Boring waste of time in my opinion.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen Cornwall, NY, United States 08-16-12
    karen Cornwall, NY, United States 08-16-12 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Italy and back"
    Where does Beautiful Ruins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Ranks high, the characters are rich and the story keeps it moving and melding.


    Have you listened to any of Edoardo Ballerini’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    lovely book that makes me want to travel to Italy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Huntington, NY, USA 08-14-12
    Eileen Huntington, NY, USA 08-14-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    22
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating!"
    Any additional comments?

    Jess Walter's rocks this book with his passion for storytelling. The novellas within the novel were delightfully engaging as each character is deftly defined and linked to others, making the story all the more endearing! And, Edoardo Ballerini's narration and character performance is stella!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 651-660 of 696 results PREVIOUS165666770NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.