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
I feel ambivalent about this book. It was quite engaging in parts, and at times I felt transported to the little Italian village where it is set, but there are long sections that are not so much about "beauty" and are more about the "ruins" of love and relationships. I found it left me sad, with little reward as there were no great insights or meaningful reflections. In fact although i downloaded it as a "vacation read' I actually had to stop listening to it as I felt it was bringing my mood down and ruining my vacation. I did finish it on my return home, and the story does eventually all come together, but the main beauty for me, was when it ended...
The intertwining of all the stories
Everything. He was an excellent narrator
Dee Mora -she seemed like she had the most depth to her
I was really looking forward to listening to this book. I have struggled to get to the 7 hour mark and would never have got this far if I was reading it. I find that I don't like the characters and when I just get interested in their story the story changes to someone else's. I don't usually mind this in a book but I really find this story isn't moving along fast enough.
I can't understand all the rave reviews and doubt that I will finish it.
This was worth listening to. Good story, characters that stay true to form and a voice that fit well. It does have adult content, but not throughout the whole book.
I loved the intertwining of all the characters. As varied and random as they were, the author wove their stories into a fascinating read.
His excellent Italian, for one thing. He was a pleasure to listen to.
I found this book very compelling and couldn't wait to go on my walks so I could listen to more. There have been a few books in my life that I hated to see come to a close, and this is one of them.
how the author played with time, and how he created his themes through the characters.
he was wonderful. great Italian accents, authentic AND understandable for a non Italian speaker.
one of the best books I've listened to in a long time. I plan to listen or read more of this author.
"Beautiful Ruins" is among my favorite audiobooks. It ranks in my top 10 of the audiobooks I've listened to thus far.
The story was very well-paced. The way Jess Walter switched back and forth from the past to the present kept up the intrigue and engaged me completely. I also loved the well-developed characters and their interactions with each other.
He has an excellent lyricism to his voice that makes you forget you're listening to a narrator at all. He also has an excellent command of Italian, so his accents were well done. A poor accent can take me right out of a story, but Ballerini's ability to shift effortlessly from woman to man, Italian to American, and young to old made his narration completely effortless.
I loved the early scenes set in Porto Vergonia, especially those featuring the American writer.
I really enjoyed the way the chapters depicted slices of different times past and present for the same characters.
The narrator was excellent in his ablity to protray the various characters.
I person who has no life.
Write a different kind of book, I thought that it was all over the place and not very suited as an audio book
disappointment and confusion
Beautiful ruins as an audiobook makes it that you can`t even get the satisfaction of ripping the book up, (deleting is not as satisfying)
Report Inappropriate Content