Publisher: Harper Collins (June 2012)
Our store has what we call a "Summer Smackdown", which is, in essence, a means of promoting one special book through the summer. We were given a few titles to choose from and Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter came out the winner.
This title is also on tour right now with TLC Book Tours. The following summary is from the TLC site (of which I am a participating book reviewer/blogger):
The story begins in 1962. Somewhere on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea—blue as his eyes—and sees a vision: a slender blonde 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 it 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 fifty years before.
What unfolds from there is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, peopled by Jess Walter’s trademark unforgettable characters: the Italian innkeeper and his mysterious beauty; the heroically cynical film producer who once brought them together, and his idealistic young assistant; and 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 pure Jess Walter—a novel full of flawed yet utterly relatable people, all of them reaching toward some impossible goal, leading us up a rocky shoreline path toward a future both distant and utterly familiar.
A gorgeous cover, catchy title and enticing summary had me hooked. Will this be your read of the summer?