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Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter Review

Title: Beautiful Ruins

Author: Jess Walter

First published June 12, 2012

337 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780061928123 (ISBN10: 0061928127)

Rating: 3.68


A masterpiece that will capture your heart, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter is a New York Times bestseller that follows the story of an almost-love affair that spans over five decades. Set against the backdrop of the Italian coast in 1962, the novel takes us on a journey that traverses the lavish set of Cleopatra, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the back lots of contemporary Hollywood.

With its captivating and deeply human characters, this rollercoaster of a novel is a glorious tribute to the enduring power of dreams. Jess Walter’s latest work is a must-read for fans of literary and historical fiction, offering a witty, romantic, and purely enjoyable experience that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

About the Author

Meet Jess Walter, a talented writer who has authored five captivating novels and one nonfiction book that have been translated into over 20 languages. His work spans beyond just books as he has also written essays, short fiction, criticism, and journalism that have been featured in various publications such as Details, Playboy, Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe, among many others.

Walter’s skills don’t just end with writing as he also writes screenplays and co-authored Christopher Darden’s 1996 bestselling book. He lives in Spokane, Washington, in his childhood home with his wife Anne and three children, Brooklyn, Ava, and Alec.

Editoral Review

Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins is a stunning novel that weaves together multiple storylines and time periods with seamless precision. Published in 2012, the novel explores themes of love, regret, and the fleeting nature of life, while also touching on the impact of Hollywood on American culture.

Walter’s writing style is both lyrical and precise, transporting readers to a variety of settings, from the rugged Italian coastline to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.

The novel’s main storyline is set in 1962, when a young Italian innkeeper named Pasquale Tursi meets an American actress named Dee Moray, who is filming a movie on the nearby coast. Pasquale is smitten with Dee, and the two begin a brief but intense love affair.

Years later, Pasquale travels to Hollywood in search of Dee, hoping to find closure on their relationship.

Beautiful Ruins also follows the lives of a variety of other characters, including a struggling Hollywood producer, a young writer trying to make it in New York City, and an elderly Italian man who has lived through both World War II and the rise of Mussolini. These characters’ lives intersect in unexpected ways, creating a rich tapestry of human experience.

Walter’s writing is exquisite, with each sentence beautifully crafted to convey a wealth of emotion and meaning. The novel’s characters are complex and fully realized, with their flaws and strengths on full display.

Walter’s exploration of the impact of Hollywood on American culture is particularly insightful, as he delves into the ways in which movies both reflect and shape our society.

While Beautiful Ruins is a masterful novel, it is not without its flaws. The novel’s pacing can be slow at times, and some readers may find the multiple storylines and time periods confusing.

Additionally, the novel’s ending may leave some readers feeling unsatisfied, as Walter leaves certain plot points unresolved.

Despite these limitations, Beautiful Ruins is a must-read for anyone who loves literary fiction. Walter’s writing is exceptional, and his exploration of the human experience is both moving and thought-provoking.

This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy complex characters, intricate plotting, and lush, evocative prose.

Overall, I give Beautiful Ruins a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. While it is not a perfect novel, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, and it is a book that will stay with readers long after they’ve finished the final page.