Thursday, October 9, 2014

Beautiful Ruins - Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Why was I drawn to Beautiful Ruins? Because my husband and I visited the Cinque Terre (Italy) where the story is set. But the author's writing is what kept me reading. I'll admit that the many different characters, plots, and periods of time sometimes confused me, but the characters are interesting and so are their stories. I haven't quite finished the book yet, so I'm hoping they all come together in the end. (See my "Saturday Snapshot" photos from our Cinque Terre trip HERE, if you're curious.)

Book Beginning:
The Dying Actress
April 1962
Porto Vergogna, Italy
      The dying actress arrived in his village the only way one could come directly--in a boat that motored into the cove, lurched past the rock jetty, and bumped against the end of the pier. She wavered a moment in the boat's stern, then extended a slender hand to grip the mahogany railing; with the other, she pressed a wide-brimmed hat against her head. All around her, shards of sunlight broke on the flickering waves. 

The Friday 56 (from Page 56 - trade paperback):
     "When I found out how bad it was ... I decided that from now on I was just going to say what I think, that I would stop worrying about being polite or imagining what people thought of me. That's a big deal for an actress, refusing to live in the eyes of others. It's nearly impossible."

Genre: Fiction & Literature
Length: 337 Pages (Trade paperback)
Amazon Link: Beautiful Ruins
More Books by This Author: Jess Walter's Website

      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.
      What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with 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 a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings and The Friday 56. 
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  1. I read this book earlier this year and just loved it. I got into the theme of RUINS and thought a lot about how things and people fall apart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
    Anne's Friday quotes

    1. I was struck by how much things have changed in Hollywood (and everywhere, really). Back in 1962, the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton romance was scandalous and had to be managed by the movie studio executives. Nowadays, it would be no big deal!

  2. How great to read a book set in a lovely place, with characters that sound so interesting. I love flaws in characters. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  3. What a great beginning, the writing is sound and inviting. Although I am not an actress, I am able to identify with the character's impressions on the Friday 56. I am wondering what events led up to this moment. Have a wonderful weekend Sandra :)

    Sparrow’s BB & Friday 56

    1. I definitely enjoyed the writing. The characters were nicely drawn and the description of settings gave a real feel for the Cinque Terre.

  4. This sounds like a really good one! And such a wonderful setting, too. I sort of like the ones that span years and years....

    1. So do I. I feel as if I really get to know the characters.

  5. Oh dear. Is this a love lost, love found story? That would be so sad. The setting sounds lovely. I'd like to visit Italy someday.
    Here is my 56 -

  6. Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  7. The beginning sounds like a movie scene! Also, it sounds very dramatic which is perfect for an actress. The F56 is quite true, not only for actresses but also for everyone! Sounds like a great book and I hope you enjoy the end fo it! Thanks for sharing :) Hope you have a great weekend! My Friday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  8. This line in particular from your Friday 56 stuck out to me:

    That's a big deal for an actress, refusing to live in the eyes of others.

    That's really beautiful. Great choice.

    I'm new to the Friday 56 and here's my first post!

  9. Oh, I like that quote in the 56! That's something we all should try to do. Good quote.

  10. Hmm...I want to know what brought on this change of attitude. Happy reading and have a great weekend.

  11. I've heard great things about this book!
    Happy weekend!

  12. Gorgeous cover and being in Italy makes it even better.

    Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog earlier.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  13. I've heard some good things about this book, so I'm glad you're sticking it out! Happy weekend!

  14. Saying what you think is definitely what I want too :)

    Here's mine:
    Book Beginning #1: The Blood Of Olympus

  15. I like the sounds of this book. I've seen it around and I'm going to add it to my TBR. Have a great weekend!


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