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Beautiful Ruinsis a glorious read for book lovers. From the moment you pick up the novel, it conjures a world that you long to enter. The teal-blue Ligurian Sea laps against a jagged coastline filled with candy-colored houses and open windows. At first glance, you’re dying to get inside those houses and find out what’s going on.
You needn’t worry. Jess Walter has written a sumptuous epic about the real people who make art, spinning illusion for fun, profit, and meaning. There are screen actors, a novelist, and Pasquale, an innkeeper, who keeps his patrons fed and watered on homemade wine and dreams. Among all the shimmer and hope are the lost souls who long to create something, anything. And just as Jess Walter introduces us to these characters, he follows them for fifty years. The journey will delight and captivate you.
You will be crushed when the novelist, Alvis, tracks down a woman whom he believed saved him in his youth, only to take a long walk down a dark hallway into a room where everything he believes and all his hopes shatter in one exchange. Jess Walter can break your heart in one conversation.
If you love the ancient charms of the Italian coast on the Ligurian Sea, if you long for Edinburgh and its cold rain and distant hot sun, and if you love stories of the dream factory that is Hollywood, you will not be able to part from this book until you are finished reading it. Even then, for months afterward, you’ll keep it close so you can reread a passage here and there that moved you.
It’s all here, the illusion and reality, the joy and the shame of the creative life, of life itself. The ingenue Dee, the producer Michael, and the D-girl Claire take you into the world of making movies, the expectations and disappointments, and in an ingenious turn, the author pins the hem of the action with real Hollywood stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who are engaging in a drama of their own in Rome.
Jess Walter has quietly and expertly built a career over six novels that puts him at the forefront of great American writers. Beautiful Ruins is the emerald among the pearls.
So many colorful, comical, trivial, insightful, sad and happy moments woven together so cleverly in this book. Read morePublished 52 minutes ago by Julie Hackworth
A fun read while actually traveling through cinque terra. Love, honesty, mystery and entertainment. A great vacation read with some vino.Published 3 days ago by Darcy Lynne Rawls
If you like fanciful fluff this is your book. I chose it based on the reviews and because I was heading to the area for a vacation. I guess I don't see what others do in it. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Lynn Gurrentz
A beautiful bittersweet love story that reminded me of a Fellini movie. Characters were smart & endearing. Locations sharply drawn & accurate. Read morePublished 7 days ago by marilyn s.
The story comes up with some nice realizations but also repetitions and an overload of characters. Still, it's an interesting read with a satisfying conclusion.Published 8 days ago by E. F.
A tough read, sometimes, unreadable, but funny and interesting.Published 9 days ago by Philip Blitz
What imagination! What storytelling! I am in awe of author Jess Walter. This is a feat. And I have no idea how to summarize the plot, so I won't even try. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Cathryn Conroy