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Beautiful Ruins

Written by: Jess Walter
Narrated by: Amy Finegan
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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, read by Amy Finegan. 

The story begins on the Italian coast in 1962. A young innkeeper watches in disbelief as a beautiful American girl gets out of a boat and climbs towards his hotel. She turns out to be an actress, on the run from the shenanigans going on down the coast in Rome at the filming of Cleopatra. A few days later international star Richard Burton, much the worse for wear, appears in the village, too. 

Half a century later, and half a world away in Hollywood, an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the woman he last saw in his hotel 50 years before. 

What unfolds is a dazzling novel teeming with unforgettable characters: the Italian and his long-lost love; the heroically cynical film producer who first brought them together, now a successful legend on the Hollywood scene, and his idealistic young assistant; and the husbands, wives and lovers, superstars and victims, who have populated their world since that summer day in 1962.

©2013 Jess Walter (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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  • Rachel
  • 04-11-20

Superb narration, can’t make up my mind about the story

This felt like a lot of individual stories stitched together, all intertwined but in different passages of time. I enjoyed the writing style immensely as well as the excellent narration but I found the constant jumping back and forth in time and multiple characters distracting.

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  • Marie Z
  • 02-11-18

Addictive story

Gripping yet simple story ( I speeded it up and got through it v quickly) takes you in and out of multiple characters and their stories like water lapping on a warm beach 🏖
By the end - I was greedy and wanted more even when I knew I had enough - addictive indeed 👏👏👏


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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-11-22

A beautiful read

Loved it from start to finish, although I wanted more. I was impatient jumping back and forth through the important time differences in the book, as I needed to know how it ended sooner. I didn't skip ahead of course, I waited for the end. (Just impatiently). Beautiful story set in Italy.