Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel Hardcover – June 12, 2012
|New from||Used from|
Discover collectible copies of the books you love
Explore rare and antiquarian books from independent booksellers around the world. Learn more on AbeBooks.com.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
“A monument to crazy love . . . Walter [is] a believer in capricious destiny with a fine, freewheeling sense of humor.” (New York Times)
“Walter is a very, very funny writer and can do Hollywood satire with the best of them. But this is also a novel with a live, beating heart, full of sympathy for its characters and a gut wisdom…You’ll want to explore these Ruins.” (Newsday)
“Walter vividly draws a world both tender and cutthroat, where ambition battles reality, daydreams fight doldrums and sometimes win.” (Interview)
“A marvel, an absolute gem of a beach read that is both hilarious and heartbreaking.” (Huffington Post)
“Expertly scratches the seasonal itch for both literary depth and dazzle.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Entrancing…Walter’s turns of phrase are as brilliant as his plot twists, making for a compelling, fun read.” (People)
“Lyrical, heartbreaking, and funny . . . Walter closes the deal with such command that you begin to wonder why up till now he’s not often been mentioned as one of the best novelists around. Beautiful Ruins might just correct that oversight.” (Kansas City Star)
“Beautiful . . . A shining, imaginative tale . . . Beautiful Ruins shows novelists how it is done.” (The Plain Dealer)
“His [Walter’s] characters are long-suffering, prone to failure and sometimes at death’s door. But the verve and enthusiasm of this novel, from its let’s-go-everywhere structure to the comedy in the marrow of its sentences, are wholly life-affirming.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“A beautiful narrative . . . This writer is a genius of the modern American moment.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
From the Back Cover
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 fifty 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.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It is a miracle when the boat approaches. An American tourist! Not only an American, but an American movie actresss! Dee Moray is in Italy as a cast member in the blockbuster Cleopatra, a movie that is making headlines even before it is finished as the press can't get enough of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and their on-again, off-again love affair that is just starting. Dee has been sent here by one of the movie administrators. She is very ill and is waiting there for her lover to come and help her through the illness.
Thus starts a novel that is a delight to read. It moves across time from 1962 to the present, across continents from Italy to America to London. Along the way are famous actors, Italian dreamers, and the men and women who come to Hollywood to try to make dreams come true. It is about love and dreams and how we sometimes settle or find the fulfillment of our dreams in unexpected ways. Above all, we are entranced with the characters we meet and the adventures they take us on. This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction.
The novel is a fascinating tapestry weaving characters and time in a way that is anything but linear. We go back to World War Two, jump forward to the present, visit intermediate times, and skip from character to character, and somehow it all flows perfectly. Many authors try this "tapestry" technique, but often the result is jerky and irritating. What makes this one work so well is that each scene is presented at exactly the right time to move the story forward. All else realigns itself to facilitate that movement.
The quality of the writing is excellent. It has always seemed odd to me that there are a gazillion genres of fiction, and then there is this other thing called "literary" fiction. Hello? *All* novels should be literary. But the sad truth is that they're not. They are filled with awkward scenes, grammatical errors, endless exposition, and artificial devices to force an ungainly plot to stagger forward. Which is why I keep coming back to "literary" fiction; it's written by pros who know how to write and how to tell a good story. And Beautiful Ruins is one of the best I've read in years. The prose is so rich and filled with meaning that I found myself highlighting, which is something I almost never do when reading fiction.
I give it seven stars. You can't see the sixth and seventh ones because Amazon peaks at five, but trust me, it's there.
So three stars, because I can't decide.