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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 (9277 )
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4.3 (8151 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Martha Longmont, CO, United States 11-01-12
    Martha Longmont, CO, United States 11-01-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Epic story spanning many generations"
    What did you love best about Beautiful Ruins?

    I loved the character development and intermingling plot lines.


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

    When Pasquel and Dee came back together after a life time apart.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Front Man play in Sandy Point, ID.. I felt as though I was there and I felt the emotions of the actors.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I definitely felt intense emotion.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book to those who enjoy a good love story set in so many ecitng venues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Two Harbors, MN, United States 10-31-12
    Michael Two Harbors, MN, United States 10-31-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    38
    7
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    "Lovely Experience"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 10-31-12
    Tim 10-31-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "Not as good as it was hyped. Not "The Help""
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This is a love story. And a movie story. I think generally a female audience might appreciate this book.


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

    I applaud Jess Walter, she is a fine author. For me the story was rather bleak.


    What aspect of Edoardo Ballerini’s performance would you have changed?

    I kept thinking that he sounded a lot like Scott Brick. He did a fine job of distinguishing characters.


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

    I enjoyed hearing about the Cinque Terra and about some of the actual historical actors in the story.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sydvid Kansas City 10-31-12
    Sydvid Kansas City 10-31-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    Story
    "Okay"
    What did you like best about Beautiful Ruins? What did you like least?

    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.


    Do you think Beautiful Ruins needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, there wasn't anything left hanging.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Plainfield, VT, United States 10-30-12
    Rebecca Plainfield, VT, United States 10-30-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    94
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    106
    53
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    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "More misery than beauty............"

    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...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Campero 10-30-12
    A. Campero 10-30-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    21
    10
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    "Great Story"
    What did you love best about Beautiful Ruins?

    The intertwining of all the stories


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    Everything. He was an excellent narrator


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

    Dee Mora -she seemed like she had the most depth to her


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Frankston South, Australia 10-30-12
    Pamela Frankston South, Australia 10-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    3
    2
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    0
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    "Disappointed"

    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.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nancyshrode 10-30-12
    nancyshrode 10-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "a must listen"

    I have read this book in the past but it is so much better when it is being read to you with the Italian accents and language. Great story. Worth the $.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachelle Pueblo, CO, United States 10-29-12
    Rachelle Pueblo, CO, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed this story and its narrator"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen E. Owen Marietta, GA United States 10-29-12
    Karen E. Owen Marietta, GA United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    7
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    "Loved it!"
    What did you love best about Beautiful Ruins?

    I loved the intertwining of all the characters. As varied and random as they were, the author wove their stories into a fascinating read.


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

    His excellent Italian, for one thing. He was a pleasure to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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