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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 (9259 )
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4.3 (8134 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Maureen 11-12-12
    Maureen 11-12-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    15
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    Performance
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    "Entertaining"
    Would you try another book from Jess Walter and/or Edoardo Ballerini?

    yes


    Would you recommend Beautiful Ruins to your friends? Why or why not?

    yes, It was not a "must read" but it was worth the time spent listening


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

    The italian inn keeper


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I would watch it on TV


    Any additional comments?

    I think the writer did a good job helping the reader to invision the characters.
    The narrator was good as well.
    He kept the interest going when the story line fell a little flat at times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GeekMom Austin, TX 11-12-12
    GeekMom Austin, TX 11-12-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    10
    9
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    "Beautiful Ruins -- Beautiful Book"

    Let me start by saying that I am an avid audiobook listener. I'm a little embarrassed by the number of books in my library. Having said that, Beautiful Ruins is among the very best of them. I fell in love with the characters and was transported by the scenery. I found myself rationing the last few chapters of the book - I didn't want it to end. Happily, the ending was as special as the rest of the book. Listen to it! Then listen again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ingvild 11-11-12
    Ingvild 11-11-12

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    85
    7
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    "Overrated"
    What disappointed you about Beautiful Ruins?

    I really don't get all the fuzz about this book. It was said to be the best book since "The Help". Hah! No way! This book had nothing to stand up to "The Help" with. It was just boring, and long... I had to listen to it in double speed just to finish it as quickly as I could.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Nothing written by Jess Walter, that's for sure.


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

    Edoardo Ballerini did a brilliant job narrating this book. He was a glimpse of light in a very boring book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 11-10-12
    Marie Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 11-10-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "How dare they compare this with "The Help"!"

    The obvious skill of the writer was wasted on this self-indulgent tale of lives wrecked by addiction and stupidity. After listening to hours of depressing, self-centered drivel (albeit artistically written), the ending suddenly brought everyone together and solved all their problems. The entire plot was based on shallow philosophies of life, and aimless, drifting behaviors bereft of meaning or any understanding of the world in which they were operating. Who was the reviewer who said this was the best story since "The Help"? How can anyone compare a tale of real human struggle to deal with racism, poverty and social class with this simpering, whining book about people commodifying, scewing, drinking and overdosing themselves through life?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 11-10-12
    Jennifer 11-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    7
    6
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    Story
    "I felt a bit ruined after listening..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There was way too much unnecessary backstory and whole sections that could have been cut out, i.e. the story would have been the same without them. I absolutely hated having to sit through one character's entire movie pitch as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world (it wasn't, and it wasn't necessary for the plot in any way), and the chapter from one character's memoir? Ugh! I found myself saying aloud "Who cares?" half the time and "Get on with it!"


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

    Pasquale was the only one I ever cared about. I didn't really connect with any of the other characters, except maybe Claire a little but the fact that she would stay with her lame boyfriend who was horrible to her just because he was hot made me lose all interest in this character. Mostly this was fully of shallow, unappealing people who didn't really evolve or grow.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Beautiful Ruins?

    I would definitely cut the movie pitch and also the chapter from Michael Dean's memoir. I would majorly cut tons of back story from Pat and a lot from Dee as well. Back story is nice when it helps move the plot forward but most of this was telling us things we didn't NEED to know. For me, the movie pitch felt like the author was trying to show Hollywood what they missed out on, i.e. maybe he tried his hand there and things didn't work out, and it turns out that's kind of what happened. There's some lovely language here but I was too distracted by the loads of extraneous information to appreciate it.


    Any additional comments?

    The book started out beautifully which made me excited about what was to come -- it felt quite cinematic and I couldn't help but think about the great movie this would make -- but there were way too many sections that felt unessential in moving the story forward. Ultimately, I felt like I sat through tons of "filler." The story had interesting facets but I did not enjoy the way it was told or most of the characters and cannot recommend it. The ending was unsatisfying and the only moment that moved me in the entire book was when Pasquale was reunited with Dee -- not because I cared about her at all but because I cared about him. I never believe there was any sort of real connection between them though and could not have cared less about most of the other characters. Sorry if this is a harsh review but I was really frustrated from about 1/3 of the way through the book all the way to the end.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janna BRENTWOOD, TN, United States 11-10-12
    Janna BRENTWOOD, TN, United States 11-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "didn't enjoy at all"
    What disappointed you about Beautiful Ruins?

    Story was boring -- didn't draw me in. I have never not finished a book, but I deleted it before it was 1/2 over. Disappointed!


    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SHIRLEY HOOKS 11-09-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    "could not follow jumprd around too much"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    keep tbe story moving in one direction keep names simple


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jess Walter again?

    no


    What didn’t you like about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance?

    hard to follow story


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no i want to return it and buy another book

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 11-08-12
    Susan 11-08-12

    This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    107
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    "Skips a bit, but the story is good"

    I wonder if this could be true? I don't know, but what if. A strange woman appears at a family hotel; very ill and kind of pretty. This story goes back and forth for 50 years, through the relationships and individuals, until the circle is complete. The story keeps you interested in following each character, both individually and as a group, through the years, until the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherry L. Wright Flower Mound, TX United States 11-07-12
    Sherry L. Wright Flower Mound, TX United States 11-07-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    178
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    "Hang On"

    What a wonderful book - but pay attention only to appreciate the intricate weaving from beginning to the very end! I can only imagine what the author's notes/outlines must have looked like hanging on the wall.

    I will be looking at more books by this author AND the performer -what a wonderful job by them both!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Johannesburg, South Africa 11-07-12
    Karen Johannesburg, South Africa 11-07-12 Member Since 2011

    There are so many good books in the world to read, don't waste time on the crappy ones !

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    "BEAUTIFUL !!"

    This is the best book I've listened to for quite some time. How I wish someone would make a DVD series. A movie would be too short to capture it all.

    I fell in love with all the characters, I laughed and I cried. The way he wove the many character's stories together was brilliant! The narration was excellent! As soon as I finished the audio I ordered the book, I simply must have it in my library.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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