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The Resource Beautiful ruins : a novel, Jess Walter

Beautiful ruins : a novel, Jess Walter

Label
Beautiful ruins : a novel
Title
Beautiful ruins
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Jess Walter
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A novel that spans fifty years. The Italian housekeeper and his long-lost American starlet; the producer who once brought them together, and his assistant. A glittering world filled with unforgettable characters
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • Booklist Editors' Choice, 2012.
  • Library Journal Best Books, 2012.
  • New York Times Notable Book, 2012.
Review
  • Edgar Award–winning author Walter's well-constructed, bittersweet romance begins in April 1962, when a young innkeeper, Pasquale Tursi, puts up the "ethereal" American actress Dee Moray, who has arrived supposedly sick with stomach cancer at the remote Italian port of Vergogna. She has come from the extravagant Rome location of Cleopatra along with the philandering, tempestuous co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (Walter's title is taken from a description of Burton at 54). Pasquale soon discovers that 20th Century–Fox's chief troubleshooter, the young Michael Deane, has in fact whisked Dee, pregnant with the married Burton's child, away from the public eye to avoid scandal. Predictably, Pasquale falls in love with the beleaguered, vulnerable Dee, who is under pressure from Deane and the studio to get a discrete abortion in Switzerland. Fifty years later, the elderly Pasquale shows up on a Hollywood back lot looking for information about Dee's present whereabouts, much to the consternation of Deane, now a largely washed-up figure. The twisty narrative rolls on to show what actually became of Dee and her son, Pat Bender, a middle-aged, small-time performer. The Hollywood glitterati, led by the duplicitous Deane, come off looking thoroughly jaded and shallow compared to the stately, chivalrous Pasquale in Walter's (Citizen Vince) quirky and entertaining tale of greed, treachery, and love. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates. (Jun.) --Staff (Reviewed May 14, 2012) (Publishers Weekly, vol 259, issue 20, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Walter's newest book (after The Financial Lives of the Poets ) will have readers checking out Richard Burton movies and Cinque Terre guidebooks after marveling at his imagination and spot-on characters. It's 1962, and Dee Moray, an American starlet, has just fled the tumultuous Roman set of Cleopatra to hole up in a dilapidated hotel in an obscure Italian seaside village. Pasquale Tursi, the young proprietor of the Hotel Adequate View, is instantly smitten. Flash-forward 50 years. Claire, the ambitious yet practical young assistant to the once-legendary producer Michael Deane, is enduring another Wild Pitch Friday. A screenwriter desperate to sell his script ("Donner! An epic story of resiliency!") and an older Italian man bearing Deane's tattered business card both appear at Claire's door. Walter expertly traces the lines among these characters, using keen wit and snappy dialog to express the theme that "life was a glorious catastrophe." VERDICT The pop-culture references and wistful tone will please Nick Hornby fans and build Walter's following. Not to be missed. [See Prepub Alert, 12/19/11.]— Christine Perkins, Bellingham P.L., WA --Christine Perkins (Reviewed April 1, 2012) (Library Journal, vol 137, issue 06, p75)
  • /* Starred Review */ Hollywood operators and creative washouts collide across five decades and two continents in a brilliant, madcap meditation on fate. The sixth novel by Walter (The Financial Lives of the Poets, 2009, etc.) opens in April 1962 with the arrival of starlet Dee Moray in a flyspeck Italian resort town. Dee is supposed to be filming the Liz Taylor-Richard Burton costume epic Cleopatra, but her inconvenient pregnancy (by Burton) has prompted the studio to tuck her away. A smitten young man, Pasquale, runs the small hotel where she's hidden, and he's contemptuous of the studio lackey, Michael Deane, charged with keeping Dee out of sight. From there the story sprays out in multiple directions, shifting time and perspective to follow Deane's evolution into a Robert Evans-style mogul; Dee's hapless aging-punk son; an alcoholic World War II vet who settles into Pasquale's hotel to peck away at a novel; and a young screenwriter eagerly pitching a dour movie about the Donner Party. Much of the pleasure of the novel comes from watching Walter ingeniously zip back and forth to connect these loose strands, but it largely succeeds on the comic energy of its prose and the liveliness of its characters. A theme that bubbles under the story is the variety of ways real life energizes great art--Walter intersperses excerpts from his characters' plays, memoirs, film treatments and novels to show how their pasts inform their best work. Unlikely coincidences abound, but they feel less like plot contrivances than ways to serve a broader theme about how the unlikely, unplanned moments in our lives are the most meaningful ones. And simply put, Walter's prose is a joy--funny, brash, witty and rich with ironic twists. He's taken all of the tricks of the postmodern novel and scoured out the cynicism, making for a novel that's life-affirming but never saccharine. A superb romp. (Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2012)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10078927
Cataloging source
POT
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1965-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Walter, Jess
Dewey number
813/.54_a[Fic]_223
Illustrations
maps
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Hotelkeepers
  • Motion picture actors and actresses
  • Americans
  • Man-woman relationships
Target audience
adult
Label
Beautiful ruins : a novel, Jess Walter
Link
https://bfgb.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/beautiful-ruins-by-jess-walter/
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
337 pages
Isbn
9780061928123
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Note
Imprint varies.
Other physical details
illustrations, map
System control number
  • 794856577
  • (OCoLC)794856577
Label
Beautiful ruins : a novel, Jess Walter
Link
https://bfgb.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/beautiful-ruins-by-jess-walter/
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
337 pages
Isbn
9780061928123
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Note
Imprint varies.
Other physical details
illustrations, map
System control number
  • 794856577
  • (OCoLC)794856577

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
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