Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins is a gorgeous, glamorous novel set in 1960s Italy and a modern Hollywood studio.
The story begins in 1962. Somewhere 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 views an apparition: a beautiful woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an American starlet, he soon learns, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away in Hollywood, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot searching for the woman he last saw at his hotel fifty years before.
Gloriously inventive, funny, tender and constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a novel full of fabulous and yet very flawed people, all of them striving towards another sort of life, a future that is both delightful and yet, tantalizingly, seems just out of reach.
'Magic...A monument to crazy love with a deeply romantic heart' New York Times
'A novel shot in sparkly Technicolor' Booklist
'Hilarious and compelling' Esquire
Recensie(s)Just about the perfect summer read. It is intelligent and thought-provoking, but also a lot of fun. Reading hours fly by and reaching the final page feels like a genuine wrench * Sunday Times * Ambitious, large-hearted, exhilarating novel that leaves you wanting more . . . Very, very funny * The Times * Beautiful Ruins is a novel unlike any other you're likely to read this year -- Nick Hornby Romantic, very funny...Turbo-charged satire meets a Garcia Marquezesque love story. What's not to like? * Daily Mail * Walter creates an epic here - one that took him 15 years to write. The end result, however, is well worth the wait * Observer * A sparkling summer read * Telegraph * Thoroughly enjoyable, a tender, funny, ridiculous tale which has love at its core and a keen satirical edge to cut through the lovely, lush romanticism * Sunday Express * You're going to love this book * New York Times Book Review * A brilliant, madcap meditation on fate * Kirkus Reviews * A novel shot in sparkly Technicolor * Booklist * The beach read of the summer * Vogue * Hilarious and compelling * Esquire * Magic. Walter is a believer in capricious destiny with a fine, freewheeling sense of humour . . . A monument to crazy love with a deeply romantic heart * New York Times * Poignant, comical and marvellous * San Francisco Chronicle * Larger-than-life characters, billowy romance and crafty satire ... Any book that includes Richard Burton as a character is fine by us * Esquire * Cinematic and utterly romantic . . . the big beach read for summer * Sunday Times * My absolute favourite read this year -- Nick Curtis * Evening Standard 'Books of the Year' * A bravura feat -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times 'Books of the Year' * The beach read of 2013 * Grazia 'Books of the Year' * Think Il Postino with a walk-on part for a comically drunk Richard Burton -- Peter Brookes * The Times 'Books of the Year' * Walter's account of the filming of the Burton/Taylor classic Cleopatra is a playful imagining of emotional history and hidden lives just out of view. Be warned, this is a novel that may make any festive guests somewhat anti-social as I read it in two days flat -- Olivia Cole * GQ 'Books of the Year' *
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