April 23, 2021

Book Beat: “Beautiful Ruins”

“Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter is sometimes comedic, part romance, part historical fiction set in Italy during the shooting of the epic film “Cleopatra” in 1962, and a breezy read perfect for beach days. Readers are taken to the minuscule town of Vergogna, Italy, to Hollywood in California and to Edinborough, Scotland. As a teaser, British actor Richard Burton figures in the plot.

While the prose throughout out the book is quite charming, the last chapter is tour de force writing that is almost Joycean in its description of where the main characters end up. According to Amazon, buyers frequently bought this Jess Walter book along with “Gone Girl” and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” all three being trade paperback bestsellers.

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