Beautiful Ruins
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Beautiful Ruins

3.67 (129,841 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

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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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 163 x 237 x 30mm | 508g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • United States
  • English
  • 0061928127
  • 9780061928123
  • 163,849

Back cover copy

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.
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Review quote

"His [Walter's] characters are long-suffering, prone to failure and sometimes at death's door. But the verve and enthusiasm of this novel, from its let's-go-everywhere structure to the comedy in the marrow of its sentences, are wholly life-affirming."--Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Rating details

129,841 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 20% (26,101)
4 40% (51,728)
3 30% (38,590)
2 8% (10,524)
1 2% (2,898)
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