Friday, November 16, 2012

Beautiful Ruins; Jess Walter

Title:  Beautiful Ruins
Author:  Jess Walter
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Harper Audio
Edition: audio 
Reader: Edoardo Ballenini (okay)
Source: library
Date Completed:  October/2012
Rating: 2.5/5 
Recommend: no

A crumbling hotel, the Hotel Adequate View, set atop a small Italian coastal town, provides a backdrop for the Beautiful Ruins. Lonely, hotel owner Pasquale Tursi, sees an opportunity to make his hotel a success by attracting wealthy Americans. The year is 1962 and when the lovely American starlet. Dee Moray arrives, Pasquale becomes instantly infatuated with her.  She in Porto Vergogna for the filming of the movie Cleopatra, but is later removed from the set because she is pregnant.

The story then jumps ahead some 50 years when Pasquale, who has never forgotten this American beauty goes to Los Angeles in search of the woman he's longed for all these years.  It is here that I really started to lose interest in this novel, and started skimming an awful lot. Fifty years is an awful lot to cover in a short novel and found there was way too much crammed in, from war to a  reality television and a whole lot in between.

The story just did not work well for me. Although the writing was good; I especially enjoyed the descriptiveness of the Italian coast and of Hollywood as well, the story just felt disjointed and hard to follow at times. At first I wondered if listening to the audio, read by Edoardo Ballerini, was the reason, but I don't think this book would have worked for me even had I read the print version.

Did anyone else find this novel less enjoyable than you originally anticipated?


  1. I really liked this one a lot. I read it so I can't say if the narrator was the problem. It does move around a lot and might have been easier to follow in print.

  2. Oh well, not every one works out like it should!

  3. I haven't read or listened to this one. Thanks for your honest review.

  4. Sorry to hear this one didn't do much for you. I may just read it anyway as I really hate audio and always love reading for myself. I'll let you know what I think when I do. Yes, thanks for being honest. I tend to never mention books I really don't like but that doesn't help anyone really. Hope your next read is a good one.

  5. I loved it, but I read the print version. I think the stories within the story and the jumps in time would make the audio more difficult to follow than print. Also, there was a change in fonts for a few of the stories, one done as typewriter and one in italics, which helped. As much as I enjoyed the book I think I would have had trouble tying it all together if I listened to the audio. Something about seeing the print made it click.

  6. Hi Diane,

    I saw this book doing the rounds on a few other sites and felt that it had great promise when I read the synopsis and saw that beautiful cover.

    It just goes to show that you really can't 'judge a book by its cover', given your own experience, although other readers did seem to enjoy it a little more.

    I agree with many of your previous commenters, in that I can't deal with audio books, preferring to read something for myself. Perhaps that might have made a difference to your perception, but we can't like all the books we read, can we?

    I think that you did the right thing in leting us know your honest thoughts about the book and I hope that your next choice of book is more enjoyable.


  7. I love the cover, but I'm a sucker for them. This might be a library book for me.

  8. I really liked a book that I read by him a few years ago and after reading a review from one of our book buddies, I purchased it from I'm still going to give it a shot!

  9. This might be the first negative review of this one I've read, but I admit I haven't read many since it doesn't totally seem like my kind of book. Sorry it didn't work for you!

  10. I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who didn't like a book everyone else loved (I loved this one). However, ever book isn't for everyone!

  11. I've been wondering about this one, but I think I'll stay away.

  12. Oh dear! I have this one on my shelf to read still. Sorry it didn't live up to your expectations for it.

  13. what a bummer to hear this! i absolutely loved this book and am a huge fan of jess walter. sorry to hear that you didn't enjoy this one.

  14. So many people liked this one but it never appealed to me. Looks like I was right :)

  15. I heard nothing but rave reviews of this one before I read it, so I think my expectations were a bit too high. I still enjoyed it, but I definitely didn't love it.


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