Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Why I read it: One of the books listed for Tournament of Books
The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet: the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 . . . and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.I enjoyed this story, alternating between Porto Vergogna (a tiny town in the rocks outside Cinque Terre) in 1962 and more current Hollywood. It traces the lives of several characters in their pursuit of authentic lives. I didn't really connect with most of them, since most except Pasquale had a hard time figuring out what they should be about. Still, it had good pacing and I can understand why so many people ranked it a top book of 2012. It does make you wonder though, has there ever been a book about someone authentic living in Hollywood? Does that person exist? That's the book I'd like to read.
I did like the character of Pat Bender, who for most of his life succeeded because he believed he could, until he stopped. Heh.
"Life is a blatant act of imagination."