In Beautiful Ruins, the story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on 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.
To be honest, I had no idea what this was about. My sister said she was reading it and mentioned it a few times, so to me that means “read me”. You don’t have the same chat with yourself? No? Hmph.
I was surprised at how well Beautiful Ruins was written and how the story flowed so effortlessly. If you read the synopsis above, you will see that it takes place in 1962 and in present time. The author does such a great job of seamlessly moving between the 2 time frames.
This book also made me very intrigued about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Yes, folks. Those two love birds. I refuse to waste my time watching Lindsay Lohan attempt some sort of acting as Liz, so I won’t be watching it. I can’t imagine how terrible that Lifetime movie was. I am digressing.
This book didn’t focus on Liz or Dick. Well, it didn’t really focus on Liz at all. Dick was in more of it than I would have thought. I had no idea that those 2 met in Italy on Cleopatra. Haven’t seen that movie either…oops. I might live under a rock. Just saying. But because of this book, I know I didn’t miss much. Oh and this made me want to go to Italy to Cinque Terre. It seriously sounds amazing. Sigh. Le sigh.
What have you guys read recently?