Cwiegard's Reviews > Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
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's review
May 10, 2012

it was amazing
Read from May 10 to 25, 2012

At first glance this seems like a rather weird novel, starting out in an obscure fishing village in Italy during the filming of the movie "Cleopatra" in 1962 with a budding romance between an American starlet (Dee Moray) and the Italian proprietor of a shabby little hotel (Pasquale Tursi). But Walter soon shows his brilliance as a designer of plot, character, dialogue, and scene. Wow! Everything is revealed at the perfect moment- so many secrets, so many plot twists.

In the end, this is not just an effort to show-off his novelistic techniques. It's about the human desire to be authentic, and how today's world of celebrity stifles that desire. Love and longing mean something in Walter's world- and so does doing the right thing, even when you really want to do the wrong thing. I found this novel very rewarding emotionally as well as a work of near genius. It likely belongs on the top 20 novel list for 2012, even though we are less than halfway through the year.

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