#6 of My 2014 Top Ten: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins

I have to admit I never would have picked up this book if it hadn’t been assigned for a writing conference I attended last November. Nothing about the cover–design or title–caught my eye, nor did the synopsis about a young actress in Italy who is told she is dying.

But it was an assignment, so I dutifully waded in, expecting a chore, expecting to have all sorts of snarky comments rolling through my head. (It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the other side of the podium in a classroom, and this gave me a fresh perspective on that situation.)

Of course I ended up loving the book. Walter created believable, nuanced characters, and he set them in a fresh plot. The story, told from multiple perspectives, moved back and forth in time. Beautiful Ruins is marvelously constructed and just, well, marvelous.