• Hardcover:352 pages
• Publisher: Harper (June 12, 2012)
The story begins in 1962. Somewhere 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—blue as his eyes—and sees a vision: a slender blonde 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 it 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 fifty years before.
What unfolds from there is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, peopled by Jess Walter’s trademark unforgettable characters: the Italian innkeeper and his mysterious beauty; the heroically cynical film producer who once brought them together, and his idealistic young assistant; and 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 pure Jess Walter—a novel full of flawed yet utterly relatable people, all of them reaching toward some impossible goal, leading us up a rocky shoreline path toward a future both distant and utterly familiar.
“Why mince words? Beautiful Ruins is an absolute masterpiece.”—Richard Russo
“A ridiculously talented writer.”—New York Times
Jess Walter is the author of five novels, including The Zero, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award, and Citizen Vince, winner of the 2005 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. He has been a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize and the PEN USA Literary Prize in both fiction and nonfiction. His books have been New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR best books of the year and have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in Spokane, Washington
Jess’ 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
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