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
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)
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.....
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.
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.
All of the Italian characters' voices ring true with a great accent.
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!
The story was riveting and fun.
The weaving of the interesting tales of each person.
Definitely although impossibly long to listen to in one sitting.
This is an intricate novel that melds several different genres and a host of characters to create a truly engrossing read.
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.
Pascale -- without a doubt. Loved the Italian accent and of course, the actual Italian!
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.
Pasquale, our main character, was my favorite. From start to finish, he displays a human decency that we wish we could see in everyone.
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.
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.
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.
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