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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 (9276 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rebecca Norcross, GA, United States 11-14-12
    Rebecca Norcross, GA, United States 11-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Lost interest - never finished it"

    Although the book started out OK, about half way through listening became a chore. There weren't any characters I cared about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sewpippy 11-13-12
    Sewpippy 11-13-12 Member Since 2015

    I love to read both fiction and non-fiction, I love series books that build by adding more characters and am always sorry when they end.

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    "A wonderful read!"
    What made the experience of listening to Beautiful Ruins the most enjoyable?

    The depth of feeling that the author explored the individuals, it was a wonderful story, and wonderfully narrated!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Piscquali!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The one in the dug out where they admired the sketching on the wall under the different sunlight conditions!


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

    A time in Italy


    Any additional comments?

    My first Jess Walter book - but will look for others! I picked it based on recommendations on Audible and was NOT disappointed at ALL!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Fort Collins, CO, USA 11-13-12
    Heather Fort Collins, CO, USA 11-13-12 Member Since 2010
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    Story
    "Beautiful Listen"
    What did you love best about Beautiful Ruins?

    I enjoyed the characters and the connection between characters. The way the story was presented and woven together was intriguing. I loved the dichotomy of old and new throughout.


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

    In terms of structure, Beautiful Ruins reminded me of The Help and The Kitchen House. The overlapping of stories told from different perspectives. However, the story was distinctly unique.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I can't pick one scene that was my favorite but I loved the imagery that made up Italy.


    Any additional comments?

    The only downfall of Beautiful Ruins was the rushed ending. While I liked that everything was buttoned up, I didn't like that it felt like a list of what happens.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea Pennsylvania 11-13-12
    Andrea Pennsylvania 11-13-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Crazy but GOOD"

    Made me laugh; could really see this being based on a true story. Lots of interesting characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 11-13-12
    Julie 11-13-12
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    "Not great but enjoyable"

    This story line was good but it seemed, to me, to have too many characters. At times I got a bit confused. Also, a bit too much information about sub (and sub - sub) characters especially the last chapter.
    But the narrator did a great job with all these voices. I really liked his voice.
    One thing I was curious about and did not get in the audio was this: How can you use the name of someone like Richard Burton, was this a true story? If yes or no it would have been nice to at least mention it.
    Still, all in all, this was an enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pitterpatter Marshall, MN United States 11-13-12
    Pitterpatter Marshall, MN United States 11-13-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Loved it!"
    Where does Beautiful Ruins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top 3


    What did you like best about this story?

    The settings, vivid characters, and plot. Wonderful story.


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    His command of the Italian language. Fluid reading.


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

    ??


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris 11-13-12
    Kris 11-13-12
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    "Outstanding read!"
    If you could sum up Beautiful Ruins in three words, what would they be?

    Loved this book. The braided stories and how they all play on each other.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea 11-12-12
    Andrea 11-12-12
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    9
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    "Interesting story with engaging characters"
    What made the experience of listening to Beautiful Ruins the most enjoyable?

    Great book. Fantastic characters that intertwined. This book is well written and the character development keeps the reader engaged and wanting more.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Canmore, AB, Canada 11-12-12
    Mary Canmore, AB, Canada 11-12-12
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    "How unique!"
    Where does Beautiful Ruins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is my favourite book, so far. There are so many characters and I love 'character' books and movies.


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

    I can't think of another book which compares to this, as it is such a unique approach to a "character" book. The story is just so atypical.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked Shane's pitch, as it was a story within the story and I loved their all meeting at Debra's, 50 years later.


    Who was the most memorable character of Beautiful Ruins and why?

    Pasquale is such an honourable man; a loving, true-to-himself soul.


    Any additional comments?

    My friend is a voracious reader and likely reads 10 books to my one, so she is well-versed in good literature. This is the only book I have ever dared to recommend, nay, insist that she read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fredrica 11-12-12
    Fredrica 11-12-12
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    "Complex, very readable story, great narrator"
    Would you listen to Beautiful Ruins again? Why?

    Yes, the underlying themes are mature, about accepting responsibility for your actions, making the right but not always easy choices, and living the life you have. There is a long list of characters who are all struggling with these issues in different ways. Add the rich language, the sympathetic treatment of the characters, and the generally upbeat end, and you have a book that is worth re-reading. The narrator was excellent too!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked Dee, who did her best with some pretty hard knocks in her life. Of course, I liked Pasquale too, a decent man, caught up in events that took him over. He struggled to find his way, but once that became clear, did the right thing, though it was very very hard.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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