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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Ellen Sandler 10-29-12
    ratings
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    Story
    "Loved this book. I cried when it ended."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    oh yes!


    What did you like best about this story?

    how the author played with time, and how he created his themes through the characters.


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

    he was wonderful. great Italian accents, authentic AND understandable for a non Italian speaker.


    Any additional comments?

    one of the best books I've listened to in a long time. I plan to listen or read more of this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara San Jose, CA, United States 10-29-12
    Barbara San Jose, CA, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Engaging and well-read"
    Where does Beautiful Ruins rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    "Beautiful Ruins" is among my favorite audiobooks. It ranks in my top 10 of the audiobooks I've listened to thus far.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


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

    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.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I loved the early scenes set in Porto Vergonia, especially those featuring the American writer.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jody Pleasant Valley, NY, United States 10-29-12
    Jody Pleasant Valley, NY, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Excellent complex novel"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Kemptville, ON, Canada 10-29-12
    Heidi Kemptville, ON, Canada 10-29-12 Member Since 2014
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    "disapointing soap opera"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I person who has no life.


    What could Jess Walter have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Write a different kind of book, I thought that it was all over the place and not very suited as an audio book


    Did Edoardo Ballerini do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    yes


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment and confusion


    Any additional comments?

    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)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marilyn Morgan Hill, CA, United States 10-29-12
    Marilyn Morgan Hill, CA, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Disjointed and not believable"
    Any additional comments?

    Attributing an illegitimate child to a celebrity is a little far-out and borders on besmirching someone's reputation. esp since they are no longer around to defend themselves. Going back and forth in time periods needs to be handled carefully, otherwise it tends to become hard to follow.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda ANKENY, IA, United States 10-29-12
    Linda ANKENY, IA, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2016
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    "What a waste of time!"

    After carefully listening to so many story lines and trying to figure out how they relate, I wonder why I wasted the time listening to this book. I gained nothing from listening to this book, no comic relief, no eye opening thoughts, no entertainment, just frustration.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 10-29-12
    Jennifer 10-29-12

    jenrising

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Rich Characters Whose Lives Intertwine"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beautiful Ruins?

    This book culminates in most of the characters meeting together that takes your breath away. As a reader I was already so emotionally invested in each of the characters that are so vividly described, that when they finally met I needed to hear it several times to view it from each perspective.


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

    All of the Italian characters' voices ring true with a great accent.


    Any additional comments?

    The only improvement I would suggest is the voice of the heroine, Deborah (Dee.) Throughout most of the book the narrator voices her character in a martyr-like voice that was completely devoid of energy. I found it very annoying!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Chicago, IL 10-29-12
    Karen Chicago, IL 10-29-12

    Karen

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    "Loved this book!"
    What did you love best about Beautiful Ruins?

    The story was riveting and fun.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The weaving of the interesting tales of each person.


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

    Never before.


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

    Definitely although impossibly long to listen to in one sitting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Kinsey Schwenksville, PA United States 10-29-12
    Patti Kinsey Schwenksville, PA United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2013
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    "The Perfect Audio Book for A Long Autumn Car Ride"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is an intricate novel that melds several different genres and a host of characters to create a truly engrossing read.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Beautiful Ruins?

    I especially loved all the little side "genre" parts -- Pat's play, the Donner party pitch, the excerpts from Michael Dean's how to book -- all these added to the plot and really held my interest.


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

    Pascale -- without a doubt. Loved the Italian accent and of course, the actual Italian!
    Perfection!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl NEEDHAM HEIGHTS, MA, United States 10-29-12
    Cheryl NEEDHAM HEIGHTS, MA, United States 10-29-12
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    2
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    "Good, solid story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Beautiful Ruins to be better than the print version?

    I would consider the audio edition of Beautiful Ruins to be better than the print because of Edoardo Ballerini's beautiful narration. He made it possible to accept the storyline, especially with respect to Richard Burton's role. I don't think I would have made it through this book if I had read it on my own.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Pasquale, our main character, was my favorite. From start to finish, he displays a human decency that we wish we could see in everyone.


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

    Edoardo Ballerini's Italian is another reason why I was able to get through his book. Having to make these pronunciations on my own would have slowed me down. I was also greatful that the author included definitions/explanations of Italian terms. Some authors don't do that for the reader which causes a disconnect.


    If you could take any character from Beautiful Ruins out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Pasquale is the type of person I would enjoy spending time with ... a very trustworthy and surprising character, only to the point that it's believable.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm glad that I spent time with this book. Normally, it is not one I would have spent my money on, and it's not one that I would listen to again. It did, however, leave me with a lot to think about with respect to character. I have caught myself repeating the line "We want what we want" a number of times since finishing. It's so appropriate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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