Thursday, June 19

bibliophile [beautiful ruins]

I don't know how I forgot to review this read. Thanks Mrs. R for the reminder!

Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter

For starters, you should know that Jess Walter is a man. I need to be able to visualize my authors- preferably their faces. It's a trust thing. Anyone else? I think the age of pen names would have driven me mad.

Onto the book: like a beach read, for a chick with brains. Keep in mind that most reviews I've read set it even higher as a truly excellent novel, so I may be debasing it a bit to suggest it's destined for sandy pages...anyway, here's the blurb:

From the moment it opens—on a rocky patch of Italian coastline, circa 1962, when a daydreaming young innkeeper looks out over the water and spies a mysterious woman approaching him on a boat—Jess Walter's Beautiful Ruins is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood, Beautiful Ruins is gloriously inventive and constantly surprising—a story of flawed yet fascinating people navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

There are a few different plots here, but the main line is one long love affair, started in the 60's and realized in the modern day. Chapters bounce back and forth between the ages, similar to Last Letter From Your Lover (reviewed over here). I thought the title was pretty nuanced- beautiful things that fall to ruins, but perhaps a few ruinous situations that can be redeemed. No one lives the life they plan for themselves, that's for sure. There is enough content here to be a good book club read, if you're into that sort of thing. This is a fun (and quick) read, and could sit alongside Bernadette and Guernsey on your summer reading shelf.

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