The award-winning author of national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with a gorgeously romantic new book. Called by Richard Russo "an absolute masterpiece" Beautiful Ruins is the story an ill-fated love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later. At turns funny and elegiac Beautiful Ruins stakes new territory for a writer of great promise and accomplishment.— Matt, Los Angeles
— Sara, Atlanta
Jess Walter has created a quiet modern masterpiece with his novel Beautiful Ruins. A tale that spans decades, it is, at its heart, a love story that celebrates all of the ups and downs and twists and turns of life.
The heart of this story is Pasquale Tursi, a young Italian hotel owner. It is his experience with the American actress Dee Mornay that is the foundation of the story. From Tursi's experience with Dee Mornay comes the introduction of all the characters that play a part in this story. Tursi's journey many years later to find Dee Mornay leads us into the worlds of regret, conspicuous consumption, failed lives and relationships, as well as the ups and downs of life in the story’s characters. We meet Michael Deane, a careless Hollywood vampire, Claire, his assistant, Daryl, her porn addicted boyfriend, and Shane, an overly optimistic writer who also speaks a little Italian and acts as a translator for Tursi later on.
This book explores life as not only a comedy of errors, but also our notions of intimacy and love. It makes us see that sometimes life is complicated, but love is always simple, and no complications can ever fully wash away the deepest of loves. Beautiful Ruins explores those great successes and epic failures we experience in life. In doing so, it shows us that while over time things do indeed become ruins, they can still remain beautiful, just like our lives.
“In 1962, a young Italian innkeeper unwittingly ends up taking part in the Hollywood 'clean up' of a love affair on the set for the film Cleopatra. Fast forward to present day Los Angeles; Pasquale Tursi shows up at the studio of a legendary Hollywood producer to find out the fate of the actress he met so briefly, so long ago. The 'beautiful ruins' refer not only to the stunning descriptions of the Italian coastline, but also to the winding path a life can take and the sweet middle ground that we sometimes discover when our dreams don't pan out.”
— Sarah Harvey, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO