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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.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters
Jess Walters has sculpted, releasing from the stone - so to speak - this story of stories - of lives touching at crucial points igniting sparks that propel the narrative(s) forward unexpectedly, yet eventually coming to a richly satisfying end.
What a story, and Jess Walter - what a masterful storyteller. And now, I am going to read it again!
Wonderful characters and a rich story
I could hardly put this book down! I loved the inter-woven story lines of fictional characters and actual celebrities. Just beautifully written. A great summer read. And now I want to go to Italy to inhale these amazing sights as described by Jess Walters. Ciao!
You will fall in love with this novel! The words, the characters, the scenes, imagined like motion picture sets, are captured brilliantly. I was absolutely enthralled with this book!