Beautiful Ruins

By Jess Walter
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061928123, 352pp.)

Publication Date: June 2012

List Price: $26.99*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2012 Indie Next List
“In 1962, a young Italian innkeeper unwittingly ends up taking part in the Hollywood 'clean up' of a love affair on the set for the film Cleopatra. Fast forward to present day Los Angeles; Pasquale Tursi shows up at the studio of a legendary Hollywood producer to find out the fate of the actress he met so briefly, so long ago. The 'beautiful ruins' refer not only to the stunning descriptions of the Italian coastline, but also to the winding path a life can take and the sweet middle ground that we sometimes discover when our dreams don't pan out.”
-- Sarah Harvey, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO


Description

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 lotsearching 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 motionalong 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.




About the Author
Jess Walter is the author of the national bestseller "Th

Jess Walter is the author of the national bestseller "The Financial Lives of the Poets", the National Book Award fine Financial Lives of the Poets", the National Book Award finalist "The Zero", the Edgar Award-winning "Citizen Vince", "alist "The Zero", the Edgar Award-winning "Citizen Vince", "Land of the Blind", and the "New York Times" Notable Book "OLand of the Blind", and the "New York Times" Notable Book "Over Tumbled Graves". He lives in Spokane, Washington, with hver Tumbled Graves". He lives in Spokane, Washington, with his family. is family.

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