By Jess Walter
the tale starts off in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian sea coast, a tender innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, seems to be out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, skinny girl, a imaginative and prescient in white, impending him on a ship. She is an actress, he quickly learns, an American starlet, and he or she is demise.
And the tale starts back this present day, part an international away, whilst an aged Italian guy indicates up on a film studio's again lot—searching for the mysterious girl he final observed at his lodge a long time prior.
What unfolds is a stunning, but deeply human, curler coaster of a singular, spanning fifty years and approximately as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe competition, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved manufacturer who as soon as introduced them jointly and his idealistic younger assistant; the military veteran grew to become fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the entire tale in motion—along with the husbands and better halves, fans and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their global within the many years that keep on with. Gloriously creative, always astonishing, Beautiful Ruins is a narrative of incorrect but attention-grabbing humans, navigating the rocky beaches in their lives whereas clinging to their unbelievable goals.
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Additional info for Beautiful Ruins: A Novel
It was clear. I could see some debris in the distance, but I would be well clear of it before it became an issue. I brought her down, but not without complications. I began to apply my brakes to slow my speed down the strip of road. One, two, then four of them shuffled out of the high, grassy median of the highway. Not as many as I would have thought. As I pressed the brakes a little harder, I felt a jolt in the pedals and the aircraft turned sharply to the right. I had lost one of my brakes. I had no choice but to apply opposite rudder to straighten the aircraft out and just ride it out until the aerodynamic drag stopped me.
I took the note and put it in my pocket. Walking up to the aircraft, I could tell John and Will were edgy. I filled the aircraft tanks to the top as I watched them. Will’s skin seemed to be getting lighter in color in anticipation of what I was going to say next. Time to check out the hangar. I don’t know why they were afraid. The hangar doors were wide open and anything that wanted us could just walk out here and try. After all the gunfire, I was nearly certain that there were no more of those things inside this hangar.
At least it would be something. We could communicate with them, get more information, more ideas. 08 Jun 0226 I am leaving this morning. John and the others are staying behind in the event I bring someone back. I don’t want to terribly overstress the aircraft. I hope they have stayed near the airfield at Lake Charles. As I sit here and stare at the yellow piece of paper that is almost a month old, I wonder if they still live or if they were taken under siege as John and I that day at the tower.
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel by Jess Walter