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Teaser Tuesday: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This Tuesday, it is time for the teaser again, and this time the book was gifted to me: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Here are two teaser sentences from Beautiful Ruins:

“She feels a flash of self-consciousness and her twenty-two-year-old’s vanity rises: God what a fright she must look. For several seconds, they stand there, a gimpy old man and a sick old woman, just four feet apart now, but separated by a thick granite counter, by fifty years and two fully lived lives..”

Blurb: “The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on 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.’

I read the book in less than a day: it is multigenerational, hops across time in the strangest of ways, and has interconnected stories that I liked very much.

It was written over 15 years, and the story of how Walter wrote the book is almost as interesting as the book itself. Beautiful Ruins was one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year for 2012–  and one of the few literary novels I’ve read with a spectacularly well-constructed plot.

How about you? Would you read a book like Beautiful Ruins ?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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