Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins

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 ...


Details Beautiful Ruins

TitleBeautiful Ruins
Author
Release DateFeb 20th, 2013
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
LanguageEnglish
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Italy, Romance
Rating

Reviews Beautiful Ruins

  • Diane Yannick
    2013-01-23
    This book started with such promise. Pasquale was a great character and I would have enjoyed following his story. The Italian setting was lush and Dee Moray's story was interesting until it got crushed by all the random characters and story lines. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor? Really? Just seemed like a mishmash of people who were trying too hard to convey messages. I could not wait to finish this book and escape from these people who make life ...
  • Jason
    2012-10-30
    Preconcetti sventato ancora una volta!Whoever designed the cover of this novel and came up with its title (because I refuse to believe either of these disasters were Jess Walter’s doing) must have had one thing in mind: make this book appear to be as much of a chick-lit beach read as possible. And yes, while there are certainly elements of the chick-lit beach read here—some tender relationships, a sprinkle of sentimentality, a romance or twel...
  • Richard Derus
    2012-08-02
    Pearl Ruled Rating: 2.5* of five (p88)Story of romantic love at first sight ranging from 1962 to the present, and involving a staggering amount of cluttered narrative and facile, stereotypical characters.The writing is perfectly serviceable, though without any distinguishing characteristics. It's like those MFA bores all are. I put this down three hours ago, and already I had to look up the main characters' names: Pasquale and Dee Moray.In 10 min...
  • Julie Christine
    2012-07-07
    I got a table at the Rainbow Room I told my wife I'd be home soon Big ships are approaching the docks I got my hi-fi boom box Mashed potatoes in cellophane I see my life going down the drain Hold me baby and don't let go Pretty girls help to soften the blowPalm trees; the flat broke disease And LA has got me on my knees I am the bluest of blues Every day a different way to lose The Go GetterI'll be the Go GetterThat's my planThat's who I amThe Go...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    2012-03-28
    After looking up various images of the 1963 movie, CLEOPATRA, the film that critically bombed but was lit up by the scandal of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, I saw a coastline of Italy that looked exactly like the cover of this book. It is a most felicitous cover that captures the mood and time that this novel begins, in 1962. A parochial innkeeper, Pasquali Tursi, lives in a rocky coastline village called Porto Vergogna (Port of Shame), a place ...
  • Perry
    2016-03-09
    Heart-Stabbing Elaboration of Beauty I kept this book on my shelf untouched for nearly 4 years after I couldn't make it past page 20. In April, with the spring weather, I decided to dust off its pretty jacket and read it. So many have reviewed this novel in the time since I bought this that I doubt many will even read this review. But ... I just feel compelled to add...I was wowed, nearly speechless by the adductively alluring setting, ruins wel...
  • Steve
    2013-02-21
    In 2006, Janet Maslin of the NY Times said, “Jess Walter is a ridiculously talented writer.” That’s been a blurb on every book he’s written since. I can see why, especially since I happen to agree. This, his most recent novel, showcases these talents well. The writing is effortless, the plot is engaging, the characters are memorable, and it’s full of fun and insight. The social commentary is awfully good, too, meaning I approve of the t...
  • CLM
    2013-06-14
    Some authors can juggle intertwined characters and a disjointed assembly of characters in a way that starts making sense, allowing them to pull all the characters and plot together effortlessly at the end (Kate Atkinson, among others). I did not feel that Jess Walter had that skill; the characters did not appeal to me; and if I hadn't been reading for my book group, I probably would not have bothered to finish.
  • Trish
    2012-06-07
    A favorable review today in The New York Times said Jess Walter’s new book is like a film script, but to my way of thinking it is more like Walter as a one-man performance artist, who suddenly pulls all kinds of horns, drums, bells and other props out of his bottomless pockets to illustrate a point, to make us laugh, to break into our attention and to declare: “are we entirely mad?” His work is brilliantly interpreted and performed by Edoar...
  • Melki
    2012-06-12
    Last week, I was dreading seeing my dental hygenist. Not just for the usual reasons - (I brush & floss 3 times a day, yet she has to scrape and scrape with her little implements, and it makes me feel like an unclean swine!) - but, because we always talk about books. I knew she would ask about what I was currently reading, and I had no clue how to describe the magic of Beautiful Ruins in between all that scraping and suctioning.Even now when my mo...
  • B the BookAddict
    2013-10-23
    Jess Walter and I have not seen eye to eye on another of his novels but after reading Beautiful Ruins, we have definitely kissed and made up. Actually, we may well be 'besties'. He may have 'beautifully ruined' me for the next dozen or so books that I read; this, his latest novel, could easily become my reading yardstick. It is thought-provoking, serious, insouciant and amusing; it strolls across your consciousness with a lazy charm. Each charact...
  • Michael
    2012-11-19
    I was delighted by the humor and touching sentimentality in this tale about second chances to repair broken dreams. For me, it was a fun mash-up of a madcap romantic comedy of the Hollywood type and a serious deflation of the same scenario. I would follow happily along for long stretches, confident that the characters silly troubles would be resolved by the end. Then I would get bowled over with the serious and sometimes brutal truths that emerge...
  • Dem
    2016-08-13
    3.5 Stars This is the type of book that determines your next vacation. Sometimes its not the plot that makes a book memorable but beautiful descriptions of a place and it's inhabitants that can charm and dazzle the reader. A story of greed, treachery and romance set on a rocky patch of Italian coastline in 1962.The stroy is told in chapters that go back and forth in time and I was lucky enough to have been given a copy of this as a kris Kringle b...
  • Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)
    2012-06-28
    I had been hearing so many wonderful things about Jess Walters’s Beautiful Ruins that when HarperCollins Canada tweeted that they’d be having a Twitter chat for the book, I just had to pick up a copy. The idea of Italy mixed with that beautiful cover made it a pretty easy sell for me.Of course, when I finished the book and sat down to write this review, I was stuck. The entire book was a mix of SO MANY THINGS. First of all, there’s travel, ...
  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    2015-02-01
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Beautiful Ruins was the third book in my library Winter Reading Challenge. I don't know wtf is going on, but I'm having a hell of a time finding a winner. Curse you, library!!!! Nah, not really. In all seriousness, if I weren't such a voracious reader I would have been able to find plenty of good books on the recommendation list . . . but since I've already read Eleanor & Park and The L...
  • Kate
    2012-07-17
    I am not going to recommend you read this because you will judge me for it long before you tire of the written tics, redundancy, and the repeated use of characters' full names.If you were to read this, explicitly violating my not-recommendation and expunging my role in the whole thing, the last quarter of the book might be the best, save for the last chapter which is one of those annoying scrolling summaries at the end of a film of all of the cha...
  • Gary the Bookworm
    2012-11-17
    Beautiful Ruins is a revelation. It contains shimmering prose and a life-affirming message. Spanning 50 years and two continents, it asks some tough questions about how to define success and happiness in our media-driven, celebrity-obsessed culture. It artfully encompasses such disparate events as the filming of Cleopatra in the 1960's and the tragedy of the Donner Party over 100 years earlier. It skewers the modern entertainment industry for i...
  • Jaclyn
    2012-07-27
    A couple weeks ago a friend told me that Jess Walter's "Beautiful Ruins" was the book of the summer. I walked straight to Barnes & Noble after we finished lunch to buy it. The man at the checkout counter said that all sorts of people had been buying this book. After all, it combines Italy in the 1960s with Hollywood then and now. It deals with love, disappointed expectations, responsibilities, movie magic, tragedy - the whole gamut of human drama...
  • Diane
    2012-06-08
    What a marvelous novel! I thought this would be a fun and fast read, but there were surprising depths to this book that is part historical fiction, part insider-Hollywood, part redemption and part love story. The book opens on a tiny fishing village in Italy in 1962. An American actress comes to a small hotel to recuperate from an illness. The hotel owner, Pasquale, falls for her beauty and wants to help her. He will slowly learn her secrets and ...
  • Mark
    2012-08-26
    I would never have suspected that a novel about a small town actress, a decrepit Italian hotel, an ambitious writer, a crass Hollywood producer and Richard Burton would have me turning to grab this book at every spare opportunity, and allow me to stretch my lunch hour without guilt to finish the book.In the early 60s, Pasquale has taken over his family's completely out of date hotel in a village so small that tourist boats never come there -- exc...
  • john Adams
    2012-10-27
    Beautiful Ruins I bought this book because I heard the author on NPR and he was this super nerdy guy who talked like an economist and who said things like, “When you compare the decline of cultures, for example the decline of Rome or Imperial Britain, one can make a few general conclusion, such as, wealth shifts to the top and the masses are consciously placated...” etc etc. Then I heard the book was fiction and my reaction was: “Whaaatt!?!...
  • Jeanette
    2012-07-03
    "Isn't it enough to be out walking together in the sunlight?"Yes. Yes indeed.This isn't quite five-star material, but it was so touching and original and unexpectedly funny that I won't quibble over imperfections.
  • Jennifer Masterson
    2014-11-16
    I know I'm in the minority here and late for the party but I didn't like Beautiful Ruins. I actually couldn't finish it. I found it boring and I didn't like any of the characters.
  • Emer
    2015-08-26
    "And even if they don't find what they're looking for, isn't it enough to be out walking together in the sunlight?" These past few weeks I have been sorting through my Goodreads shelves, writing up old reviews and having many arguments with myself over what makes a book five stars and which books should sit on my 'The Chosen Ones' shelf.1. Should I only rate a book five stars if I've read it more than once and been besotted with it on each occa...
  • Marialyce
    2012-03-27
    Wonderful, book that keeps one totally engaged from the beginning to the turning of the last page. There was not a dull or uninteresting section in the entire three hundred plus pages. I loved the intertwining of the characters and their stories as they played out their lives against the backdrop of Hollywood during the Cleopatra days of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, to the tiny Italian town where so much of the action of the life of this book t...
  • Elaine
    2012-12-23
    A fast fun read that dabbles, mostly successfully, in a multitude of voices, genres and times. I found it consistently fun, if never more deeply meaningful. The book seemed to want to say something profound about love, hope, doing the right thing, and (centrally) I think, about knowing our place in life - not wanting what is more, in love or career, than we are "meant to have". (Perhaps the most profoundly Italian thing about the work). Nothing q...
  • Diane S ☔
    2012-10-16
    3.5 I had picked this up and started reading this twice before and just wasn't in the mood for it. After several wonderful reviews from my trusty goodread friends I picked it up again and this time I found it enjoyable. Never expected the sardonic humor that it held and I just absolutely adored Pasquale. He is one of those witty characters, with flaws, and oh so human that I love to read about. I did like the first part much more than the middle....
  • Laura Smith
    2012-10-07
    Set in one of my favorite places on earth, the picturesque Ligurian Sea, this novel had me at "hello". However, the beautiful Italian coastline, romantic movie stars and unique characters couldn't hold my attention for long. I felt the main crux of the story dragged me through some pitiful relationships and characters making poor life choices over and over again. I was frustrated with them, annoyed by their self pity and self destruction. But in ...
  • Wilma
    2015-08-11
    Prachtig geschreven roman... aanrader!!
  • Louise
    2012-09-21
    Story Description:HarperCollins Publishers|June 4, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-220713-5The 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 t...