July - Discussion of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

  • July 29, 2013 · 7:00 PM
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Beautiful Ruins
by Jess Walter

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks on over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot-searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion-along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

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  • Galina

    Thank all ladies for the interesting discussion of Beautiful Ruins as well as an introduction of many other books. It was so nice evening - lovely people, good weather, a nice garden,delicious snack.Altogether it created The Atmosphere. My special thanks to Susan - our amazing hostess.See you all in August.
    Alyson, you send a list for all our future meetings( till December?), don't you?Thanks.

    July 30, 2013

  • Terry M.

    Sorry I missed the conversation I really enjoyed the book. What are we reading for August & where will we be?

    July 30, 2013

  • Lisa C.

    I had a great time at the Book Club last night. It's so nice to meet new people who have similar interests. Thanks for hosting it Susan - your backyard is an oasis! And I loved those crackers, lol.

    July 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi...I am out of town Mon. and plan to be back by dinner time, so may be a bit late for the meeting, but hope to make it even if a bit late. Sorry....G

    July 28, 2013

  • Warren M.

    I did not realize you are in Toronto. I am in buffalo and I can not make this meet-up. Hopefully in the future.
    Sorry
    Warren

    July 26, 2013

    • Alyson

      Hi Warren, We are not in Toronto. We are in Niagara, Canada. Still a bit of a trek from Buffalo, but closer than Toronto for sure. Hopefully we can meet you at another one.

      July 26, 2013

  • Julie

    Sorry, something has popped up and I can't make it! Too bad, I love Beautiful Ruins :( See you next month!

    July 23, 2013

    • Alyson

      I agree with Joan completely. I look forward to seeing you next time!

      July 24, 2013

  • Mélinda

    This is my first book club meeting. Just got the book today. Hopefully I'll get it done by Monday. Please let me know proper etiquette, should I bring something?

    July 23, 2013

    • Alyson

      Hi Mélinda, You can bring a snack or beverage if you want to, however it is not required.

      July 24, 2013

  • Joan L

    We're going to miss your input Julie. And Susan read the full story!

    1 · July 23, 2013

  • SUSAN B.

    Looks like we're going to have a great turnout. I'm hoping for nice weather. AND, YES Joan, I DID make it ALL THE WAY TO THE END!!!! (LOL)

    July 23, 2013

  • Alyson

    Hey Everyone! I read an article a while back about gendered book covers. I was reminded of the article when I finished Beautiful Ruins and saw the author's picture. Needless to say I was surprised.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/07/coverflip-maureen-johnson_n_3231935.html

    July 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Would like to attend. But where

    June 23, 2013

  • Stacey

    This is my birthday! Sounds like a fun way to celebrate :)

    June 1, 2013

  • Joan L

    This piece of literature looks interesting. Hope it's a good read and that Susan makes it to the end! Lol.:)

    May 28, 2013

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