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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.
An interesting idea. Some beautiful passages. Philosophical without being overbearing. It's a little all over the place, the pacing is inconsistent, some shallowness, but overall... Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Rorie NAZARETH
It starts off rather slow, but then I began to lifecycle characters and couldn't wait to read about what happens next.Published 3 hours ago by Nikki Nestal
I loved the multiple characters and times and stories that make up this book. I could barely put it down. Read morePublished 1 day ago by BARBARA WOLFE
Enjoyed it but highlighted very little so it was a good solid read but not necessarily memorable compared to the
other great books of this year.
I looked at this book over and over sitting in the top seller slot in the bookstores. I finally bought it and was sorely disappointed. The only redeeming character was Pasquale. Read morePublished 2 days ago by April L Bledsoe
Sorry, you lost me after you jumped from Greece to Hollywood. Nothing made sense in connecting the two stories and I lost interest in reading further til I found a connection.Published 2 days ago by Andrea L Larsen
I thoroughly enjoyed "Beautiful Ruins". It was our book club choice recently. I must say that many didn't "get it", but I understood the author's intent. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Deborah Spendley