TLC Presents: Beautiful Ruins Review and Giveaway


Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters

Release date: 2012 / 352 pages

Synopsis(from Amazon):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…

Review:  When TLC contacted me about reading Jess Walter’s latest novel, I remembered describing his last novel (The Financial Lives of the Poets) as similar to “…the first time on Mister Toad’s Wild Ride — surprising, original, careening out-of-control, yet knowing no real harm will come to the reader or to the very likeable characters” and immediately accepted.

While my passion for poetry still makes his previous novel my favorite, I did enjoy Beautiful Ruins — Walter’s wit and originality is again on full display, this time integrating Hollywood (old and new), a sleepy Italian fishing village, and a message of redemption.  Even the most despicable characters are somehow likeable and believable — even a reinvented Richard Burton.

The narrative initially transverses between the 1960’s to the present, but as the novel progresses the two stories come together, gathering momentum and picking up additional characters, screenplays, memoirs and other interesting side trips along the way.  However, Walter’s narrative focus is clear and while Ruins may not have great depth, it is another fun joy ride that is a pleasure to read, largely due to Walter’s marvelous way of describing common everyday occurrences that allow the reader to view them anew:

Claire wakes jonesing for data; she fumbles on the crowded bedside table for her BlackBerry, takes a digital hit. Fourteen e-mails, six tweets, five friend requests, three texts, and her calendar — life in a palm.

While I’m not sure book clubs would have enough to discuss, as an entertaining tale Beautiful Ruins has much to recommend it. If you are interested in winning a copy, drop me a comment below!
Check out the other tour stops:

Tuesday, June 12th: A Musing Reviews

Wednesday, June 13th: Broken Teepee

Thursday, June 14th: The Scarlet Letter

Friday, June 15th: A Bookish Affair

Monday, June 18th: Book Him Danno!

Tuesday, June 19th: The Book Garden

Wednesday, June 20th: Write Meg!

Thursday, June 21st: “That’s Swell!”

Friday, June 22nd: Drey’s Library

Monday, June 25th: Just Joanna

Tuesday, June 26th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner

Wednesday, June 27th: Colloquium

Thursday, June 28th: Under My Apple Tree

Monday, July 2nd: Wandering Thoughts of a Scientific Housewife

Tuesday, July 3rd: The House of the Seven Tails

Wednesday, July 4th: Book Club Classics!

Thursday, July 5th: Lit and Life

Monday, July 9th: Luxury Reading

Tuesday, July 10th: Bibliophiliac

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20 Responses to TLC Presents: Beautiful Ruins Review and Giveaway

  1. I have heard so many great things about this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  2. Wendy says:

    This book seems like a must-read. Please include me in the Giveaway.
    Thank you!

  3. This book sounds perfect for a summer read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  4. Margie says:

    Thanks for the giveaway. This one looks interesting;.

  5. diane says:

    A wonderful giveaway. thanks so much.

  6. I would love to win a copy! Thanks…

  7. pearl says:

    This book interests me greatly. Many thanks.

  8. Anita Yancey says:

    This book sounds really interesting. I would love to read it to find out what happened to the actress. Please enter me. Thanks!

  9. nan says:

    Does sound like a great choice for summer. Thanks.

  10. Wendy says:

    I’d love to read this! Thanks!

  11. Tamara says:

    I’ve been eyeing this one! Please include me in the giveaway.

  12. Pingback: Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins, on tour June 2012 | TLC Book Tours

  13. I think this would be a wonderful read for the summer, and I LOVE the cover!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  14. Twisty J says:

    I love the idea of searching for a mysterious person from so long ago that made an impression. And, I’m with Heather- the cover is beautiful! Thanks for the chance.

  15. Diane says:

    Sounds like a great book. Thank you for the review.

  16. Cierina says:

    I’m intrigued. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  17. Diane says:

    Sounds interesting and a must read book. Thank you for the wonderful review. Would love to read

  18. Gerri says:

    Sounds like a must read book. Thanks for the review and the giveway.

  19. Steve vetter says:

    I want to read this book.

  20. Sherry F says:

    The reviews for this book really make me want to read it. Hope I win it.

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