Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter defies easy categorization as its narrative leaps from fifty years in the past, to the present, to points in between and in doing so weaves a gorgeous tale of love, loss, regret, redemption, and ultimately hope. Employing a unique mix of fictional characters intertwined with historic figures of Hollywood royalty—namely Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor—the author creates a story that seems so authentic that I found myself wanting to Google some of the characters to see if they were based on real people. Thought he time jumps from chapter to chapter were at times a bit discombobulating, on the whole the novel casts a spell on its reader that is only broken by dozens of perfectly crafted sentences that literally made me stop and marvel at the sly cleverness of Walter’s language. In all sincerity, this is an absolutely beautiful novel.

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