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 Audiobook

Beautiful Ruins

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 -

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 )
5 star
 (3659)
4 star
 (3323)
3 star
 (1711)
2 star
 (507)
1 star
 (370)
Overall
4.0 (8406 )
5 star
 (3199)
4 star
 (2789)
3 star
 (1602)
2 star
 (474)
1 star
 (342)
Story
4.3 (8412 )
5 star
 (4698)
4 star
 (2421)
3 star
 (915)
2 star
 (196)
1 star
 (182)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrea Pennsylvania 11-13-12
    Andrea Pennsylvania 11-13-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    79
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    109
    52
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    142
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Julie 11-12-12
    Julie 11-12-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story and story telling!"
    If you could sum up Beautiful Ruins in three words, what would they be?

    Rich, woven, & beautiful.
    I just loved the weave of story lines and the the character developement. I just couldn't stop thinking about what would happen next when I wasn't listening. I also loved the wit in the story...there's nothing better than a chuckle in the middle of drama to break the tension for a minute. LOVED IT!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen 11-12-12
    Maureen 11-12-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

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.