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 loved the character development and intermingling plot lines.
When Pasquel and Dee came back together after a life time apart.
The Front Man play in Sandy Point, ID.. I felt as though I was there and I felt the emotions of the actors.
I definitely felt intense emotion.
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a good love story set in so many ecitng venues.
Well written story narrated by an excellent actor. I feel as if I watched this book instead of listening to it. I did feel the ending was awkward and a little cheap compared to the rest of the book.
This is a love story. And a movie story. I think generally a female audience might appreciate this book.
I applaud Jess Walter, she is a fine author. For me the story was rather bleak.
I kept thinking that he sounded a lot like Scott Brick. He did a fine job of distinguishing characters.
I enjoyed hearing about the Cinque Terra and about some of the actual historical actors in the story.
The editors on Audible raved about this book and made it sound amazing. The story was only ok. I feel like it was a bait and switch. The hype made it a disappointment.
I didn't like how the story jumped around so much. I thought the parts about the Donner party was inconsistent with the main story and it just felt like an unnecessary side bit.
No, there wasn't anything left hanging.
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.
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