Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Beautiful Ruins

I am continuing to read books that have been on my 'To Read' list for months (years?). I had started Beautiful Ruins last year, but didn't get into it and then my book group picked it to read this fall and I pushed through. There is so much going on in this book it's hard to describe and that's probably what put me off the first time.  But it begins on a rocky coastline in Italy, in the fictitious village of Porto Vergogna, near the more picturesque colorful villages called Cinque Terre. It's the 1960s, and young innkeeper Pasquale Tursi is trying to attract tourists to his family's simple little pensione, aptly named The Hotel Adequate View.  A young and beautiful American actress, Dee Moray,  arrives by boat to stay at his hotel, having been sent away from a film set in Rome (yes, Cleopatra with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) because she is ill and has been told she is dying. A series of events unfold that change the direction of Pasquale's life.  Richard Burton makes an appearance, as does the flamboyant Hollywood director, and an American wannabe writer, who spends three months of the year writing at the Hotel Adequate View. From here multiple different stories spin out, spanning sixty years. It's kind of confusing, but you gradually realize that all the stories mean something and come together in the end, making a quite lovely story.   I especially loved the setting--I've been kind of obsessed with the idea of Cinque Terre for awhile, and it was fun to read a little about this part of Italy. I think it would make a great movie.

"Life picks up speed like a boulder rolling down a hill, easy and natural and comfortable, and yet beyond control somehow; it all happens so fast, you wake a young man and at lunch are middle-aged and by dinner you can imagine your own death.
So don't inhabit the vast, empty plateau where most people live, between boredom and contentment.
...embrace the sweet lovely mess that is real life. " ~~Beautiful Ruins

Cinque Terre (photo via Pinterest)

1 comment:

  1. Cinque terre is gorgeous! Karen and I were there in 2007, I think, and it was so beautiful and vibrant and delicious!