HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Beautiful Ruins by Walter Jess
Loading...

Beautiful Ruins (edition 2013)

by Walter Jess

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6671942,230 (3.79)217
Member:Randall.Hansen
Title:Beautiful Ruins
Authors:Walter Jess
Info:Penguin Books (2013), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Recently added byl-mo, DebbyeC, SarahHeylen, private library, tifhayes, jscape2000, cataylor, mrsfinch, purlsquirrel, Eye_Gee
  1. 00
    The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Exotic backdrops -- Italy in Beautiful Ruins and Jamaica in The Pirate's Daughter -- combine with Hollywood glamor (and scandal) in these engaging historical novels, in which past events influence present-day situations. Both feature cameo appearances by real-life movie stars.… (more)
  2. 00
    The Rocks by Peter Nichols (Anonymous user)
  3. 02
    A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Does what this book is trying to do; does it better.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 217 mentions

English (191)  Spanish (1)  All (192)
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
Trite. Awesome women wait around for their lonely men to be redeemed. The women suffer, labor, are lied to, and commit suicide in hopes it will improve their men. The more I think about it the less I can recommend it. ( )
  jscape2000 | May 21, 2017 |
Drawn in by the cover (my favourite so far this year) I discovered a book set the year I was born, featuring a woman called Debra. Moving on from the personal (there's a great reference to the V&A too), it turned out to be a wonderfully absorbing, cynically tender novel, the kind where you feel as if you have gotten to know the characters and are sorry when you have to leave!
Written from multiple viewpoints at multiple points in time, including a first chapter of a novel about the 2nd world war in Italy, a movie script, a play which reveals at the same time the story of one of the main characters and a deliberately badly-written, rejected Hollywood memoir which also moves the plot forward, the story follows the fates of two strangers Because one of the themes is the exploration of celebrity and fame, and the Hollywood machine, I'm still a little unsure if the parts that I found moving (I had tears in my eyes for a few moments)were deliberately written to tug the heartstrings in the same way so many movie script are written (I know its happening but I'm still a sucker for it). But I don't think the book is that cynical - I think that Jess Walters is aiming to expose the shallow, manipulated sentimentality by contrasting them with complicated and deeply-felt emotions. There is a final summing up which also confused me slightly - everyone knows that its only in books and films that the ends are all tied, but again, I think this was a kind of tongue-in-cheek way of saying, actually this story isn't real, it is a novel, even though some of the themes it explores are very real.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm going to look out for more by this author ... ( )
  Deborahrs | Apr 15, 2017 |
Beautiful Ruins opens in 1962 in the Cinque Terre of Italy in a tiny village called Porta Vergogna. A beautiful American starlet arrives at young Pasquale’s lonely hotel. He longs to see his town and little hotel become a tourist destination and this young woman could be the beginning.
The story jumps forward to Hollywood today and bounces back and forth in time, geography and between the lives of various characters. Richard Burton is even featured as a character while filming Cleopatra in Italy. Jess Walter gets away with it (although I longed to focus on the stories of the actress and Pasquale) and pieces it all together to reward you with a satisfying ending.
I like the cover and love the setting. It would make a nice movie.
( )
  CindaMac | Mar 26, 2017 |
A strong and engaging start but ultimately the multiple storylines and the stories within a story prevented me from engaging with any of the characters with the exception of Pasquale. About midway through I could have happily put it down and never gone back. Perhaps I would have liked it better if I’d read it instead of listening. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Beautiful setting and story. Multiple pov and time frames can sometimes be confusing, but that was not the case in the this story. I would recommend this to anyone interested in Italy or Hollywood. ( )
  kemilyh1988 | Jan 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 191 (next | show all)
Ruins constitutes a departure for Walter, another unplowed field, and he harrows it straight and true, turning up the fertile humus of the culture’s soiled psyche. Beautiful Ruins collides its broad range of characters in unexpected, unique ways, and the wonderful light touch of the satire makes them eminently believable. Unlike the Juvenalian satirists, whose righteous indignation sometimes results in flat, two-dimensional, cardboard characterizations, Walter’s people inspire sympathy, belief, even a little self-examination. Am I like this? Do I have any qualities that resemble the ones I’m reading about here? If I do, where do I get help?

Jess Walter has written a novel that sprawls on the lawn, looks up fondly at the achingly blue American sky and gazes into the deep humor of our collective human condition. That’s what good satire does—it reminds us who we really are. Humans.
added by zhejw | editPaste, David Langness (Aug 7, 2012)
 
Walter is simply great on how we live now, and ­— in this particular book — on how we lived then and now, here and there. “Beautiful Ruins” is his Hollywood novel, his Italian novel and his Pacific Northwestern novel all braided into one: an epic romance, tragicomic, invented and reported (Walter knows his “Cleopatra” trivia), magical yet hard-boiled (think García Márquez meets Peter Biskind), with chapters that encompass not just Italy in the ’60s and present-day Hollywood, but also Seattle and Britain and Idaho, plot strands unfolding across the land mines of the last half-century — an American landscape of vice, addiction, loss and heartache, thwarted careers and broken dreams. It is also a novel about love: amorous love, filial love, parental love and the deep, sustaining love of true friendship....

His balanced mixture of pathos and comedy stirs the heart and amuses as it also rescues us from the all too human pain that is the motor of this complex and ever-evolving novel. Any reservations the reader might have about another book about Hollywood, about selling one’s soul (or someone else’s, and pocketing the change) will probably be swept aside by this high-wire feat of bravura storytelling. Walter is a talented and original writer.
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Helen Schulman (Jul 6, 2012)
 
This novel is a standout not just because of the inventiveness of its plot, but also because of its language. Jess Walter is essentially a comic writer: Sometimes he's asking readers to laugh at the human condition; sometimes he's inviting us to just plain laugh.
added by zhejw | editNPR, Maureen Corrigan (Jun 18, 2012)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jess Walterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ballerini, EdoardoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
De grootste architectonische meesterwerken van de oude Romeinen zijn gebouwd om er wilde dieren in te laten vechten.
- Voltaire, Briefwisselingen
Cleopatra: Ik wil niet de slaaf zijn van de liefde.
Marcus Antonius: Dan zul je geen liefde kennen.
- Uit de rampenfilm Cleopatra, 1963
[Dick] Cavett heeft in 1980 vier lange interviews gehouden met Richard Burton... Burton, met vierenvijftig jaar al een schitterende ruïne, was ongekend charismatisch.
- 'Talk Story' door Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 22 november 2010
Dedication
To Anne, Brooklyn, Ava, and Alec
First words
The dying actress arrived in his village the only way one could come directly -- in a boat that motored into the cove, lurched past the rock jetty, and bumped against the end of the pier.
Quotations
Pasquo, the smaller the space between your desire and what is rght, the happier you will be.(page 304)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Follows a young Italian innkeeper and his almost-love affair with a beautiful American starlet, which draws him into a glittering world filled with unforgettable characters.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061928127, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A novel that spans fifty years. The Italian housekeeper and his long-lost American starlet; the producer who once brought them together, and his assistant. A glittering world filled with unforgettable characters.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
39 avail.
262 wanted

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.79)
0.5
1 9
1.5
2 61
2.5 18
3 214
3.5 94
4 360
4.5 66
5 193

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,417,621 books! | Top bar: Always visible