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Beautiful Ruins

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Beautiful Ruins Cover

ISBN13: 9780062098085
ISBN10: 006209808x
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Synopsis:

The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

Why mince words? Beautiful Ruins is an absolute masterpiece. --Richard Russo

A ridiculously talented writer. --New York Times

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ryan stuart, July 16, 2012 (view all comments by ryan stuart)
A story of has-beens, wanna-bes, losers of various stripes, and how they all succeed so beautifully at living.

So much American fiction has taken up the puerile, stupid, inanely limited hero's tale. It's the arc of every hollywood movie, the rotting spine of altogether too many novels: hero faces some deeply personal challenge (injustice, cancer, the ever eyerolling eViL), falters but ultimately takes up the fight against it, loses everything and eventually becomes even more resolute because of his/her losses, takes up the sword for one last glorious battle, and poof! wins and gets the girl/boy/diagnosis/legal settlement/money/whatever of his/her dreams.

YAWN.

Walter's tale is none of the above, which is part of why it is so lovely. There is injustice, dirty-dealing, bad behavior, carelessness, self-destruction, and failure on every page, but absolutely no one takes up a sword, which is what most people don't do. People muddle through, they do what they think is right even when they're not sure what that is, they do the best they can, and frequently, things turn out all right. Not glorious. Not perfect. Sometimes not even as they should be.

But they're all right, and even imperfect things have their intense satisfactions, and occasionally, are shot through with joy.

This book, however, is I think about as close to perfect as a book gets, and I defy you to read the final chapter without feeling deeply moved. Walter's book will absolve you of your own failures in the sweetest and most clear-eyed possible way.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780062098085
Publisher:
HarperCollins

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Beautiful Ruins
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Product details pages HarperCollins - English 9780062098085 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

Why mince words? Beautiful Ruins is an absolute masterpiece. --Richard Russo

A ridiculously talented writer. --New York Times

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