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Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Beautiful Ruins begins in 1962 when Dee Moray comes to a small hotel on the Italian coast. She'd been working on the set of Richard Burton's and Elizabeth Taylor's "Cleopatra" movie, and she's come to meet a man to help her with a dire medical problem. Pasquale Tursi, who runs the hotel, falls in love with Dee. Fifty years later, Pasquale shows up in the office of producer Michael Deane, whose rise to power began with the Burton-Taylor affair. Pasquale believes that Michael can tell him what happened to Dee. As the story moves back and forth between the past and present, involving many people tangentially related to Dee or Hollywood, Pasquale might just get his answers. Jess Walter's novel has received positive reviews with the Cleveland Plain Dealer saying, "Walter tells us the answer in the book's elegiac final chapter, which, like our lives, is an act of imagination and a conclusion that does not conclude. The final third may still be a problem for us, living in reality, but not for Walter, in this beautiful novel."