Lost in the Ruins

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I chose BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter to read and review for several reasons. First, I liked the cover, a picture of an old town resting on a rocky ledge somewhere along the coast of Italy. Second, I liked the title. Third, the synopsis of the novel on the back cover promised both mystery and romance. I was disappointed.

After reading the first third of the book, one hundred pages, I found myself confused. What was going on? I had almost no idea. I was promised a “dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel,” but what I found was a slow moving story of two people who meet in Porto Vergogna, Italy in 1962. From there the story jumps to present day Hollywood and then back and forth in time and place.

When I paused after reading the first hundred pages and had virtually no idea of what was happening, I decided to close the book and read something else.

Jess Walter is an accomplished author. He has fans. No doubt many of them will enjoy reading BEAUTIFUL RUINS, but it is not for me.

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