The book Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter was a wonderful read that I had saved on my to-be-read list after reading someone else’s review of it. “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.” I really enjoyed the multiple story lines that were woven together through the characters and their relationships in this book. There are a few stories taking place at once, including an author’s first chapter of a book about the war, a screen play pitch about the Donner party on the Oregon Trail, and part of a play. The look at Hollywood both in the 60s and now was interesting to me. I am glad I read this book and recommend it!
The other day I went to the library and brought back a bunch of books that are also on my to-be-read list. I hope I’ll have time to read them!
Have you read anything good lately?