Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I had to leave the room and find a private space to finish this book because I found it so moving.
What attracted me to the story is not, in the end, what affected me so deeply.
Italy has been a theme in my life recently and that, connected with Hollywood and theater, sounded passingly interesting. But, of course, as is often the case, the story was nothing like what I expected and that alone was worth the time.
In 1962 a young actress falls ill on the set of CLEOPATRA, the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton fiasco. She arrives by water taxi at the fictitious Porto Vergogna to convalesce and the owner of the 'Adequate View Hotel' is smitten.
Covering fifty years, the story jumps between the past and the present and involves a myriad of characters, but we are never lost. I worried about reading a book that mixes truth and fiction but it is handled seamlessly and logically here.
And after caring about so many people who are woven through this story of love, life decisions, and unfulfilled dreams, I was grateful the author answered the questions in my mind making this an incredibly magical book.
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