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Beautiful ruins : a novel
2013
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Summary
The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

"Why mince words? Beautiful Ruins is an absolute masterpiece." --Richard Russo

"A ridiculously talented writer." --New York Times
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*Starred Review* In 1962, Pasquale Tursi, inheritor-proprietor of the Hotel Adequate View in Porto Vergogna, Italy, a tiny coastal village visited only by tourists who overshoot the similarly named neighbor they intended to go to, is shocked when beautiful, sickly American starlet Dee Moray arrives, on purpose. The reason for her presence, the botched cover-up of a minor disaster that occurred, in all places, on the set of the epically doomed Cleopatra, becomes but the first of the novel's many disasters. The story moves to present-day Hollywood, home to a shark producer and his young assistant who's hungry for the magic of cinema's golden era but too smart to quit the reality-show revenue. To say Walter succeeds in stitching past to present, continent to continent, undercuts the book entirely; he rather reimagines history in a package so appealing we'd be idiots not to buy it. At one point, from their perch on a tiny paddleboat, a drunken Richard Burton turns to Pasquale to note, This is one strange goddamn movie. Walter tragicomically exposes the recesses between the desires and intentions of his protagonists and how close the two might be if it weren't for the rest of the world. A novel shot in sparkly Technicolor.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2010 Booklist
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