Friday, November 1, 2013

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

I'd heard so many good things about Beautiful Ruins, I couldn't help but snatch it off the library shelf. Walter did get great job of blending past and present. It reminded me of Sarah Jio but with a lot more characters. At first I thought there were too many characters but I quickly got accustom to everyone and enjoyed Beautiful Ruins.

The book opens with Pasquale, attempting in vain to make a beach out of the rocks that sit in front of his hotel. Pasquale desperately wants to make his hotel an American tourist attraction. While he's lifting rocks, a boat pulls up to the rocks and an attractive American woman deboards. Dee has come to this remote Italian village to spend her last days. Pasquale is overjoyed. The Americans are finally coming. The story takes Dee and Pasquale from Italy to Hollywood to London to Sandpoint, Idaho and over  nearly fifty years.

For me the characters that kept me reading were Claire and Shane. Claire wants to make films. But her boss wants to make money so she decides she's going to quit and find a way to make the films she wants. Shane has come to Hollywood to pitch his movie idea-a movie about the Donner Party. Both Shane and Claire want more than what's in front of them. When we first meet them, each thinks they know what they want but by the story's conclusion they have a clear focus of what they want and it's within their grasp.

The scenes in Italy were breathtaking. I felt like I was on the Ligurian Sea. I could smell the ocean air. I could see the small, desperate town. I could see the cliffs that Pasquale lived under. Those scenes alone made the book. I would recommend Beautiful Ruins especially to those who like Sarah Jio's books. I love the different time periods and seeing how these characters lives intersect. Others who shared their thoughts on Beautiful Ruins: It's All About Books, That's What She Read, Read. Write. Repeat, Confessions of A Book Addict,  and Write Meg!


  1. Linda, off to order this one from the library right now! Cheers

  2. First of all, I'm a sucker for pretty covers and this one certainly is. The book sounds like it's good too, though!

  3. I own this book but have yet to actually read it. I think our book club is set to read it in a few months, so that'll probably be what gets me to pick it up. Hopefully when I do, I'll enjoy it as much as you did.


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