Jan Stafford Kellis
Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Beautiful Ruins was a suggested reading selection for the University of Wisconsin writers’ workshop: Weekend With Your Novel, in Madison, WI November 14-16. If you write fiction, and you’re within 12 hours of Madison, this workshop is worth your time.

This is the story of Dee Moray, an up-and-coming American actress, and Pasquale Tursi, owner of the struggling Hotel Adequate View in a crumbling town along Italy’s Cinque Terre coastline. It’s a story of paths not taken, of regret, of secrets, hidden agendas and delusions, and of the impact a few moments can have on an entire lifetime. The author, in an interview, describes Beautiful Ruins as “a multigenerational, multi-genre, multi-point-of-view book about 1960s Italy, present-day Hollywood, World War II, and the Donner Party”.

My favorite line in the book is one uttered by the least likable character, Hollywood Producer Michael Deane: “All we have is the story we tell. Everything we do, every decision we make, our strength, weakness, motivation, history, and character—what we believe—none of it is real; it’s all part of the story we tell.”

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