Monday, January 27, 2014
Then we skip 50 years ahead to Hollywood, Edinburgh, Washington and Idaho and are introduced to a dizzying array of mostly forgettable characters and narrative threads - too many for a 340 page book. Walter writes like a runaway bus and, like an out of control vehicle, this novel is bound to crash. All the stories connect in the end but I couldn't keep the names of the characters or the story lines straight and had to keep flipping back. When I first saw the cover I was ready to take a pass on this book but read some positive reviews by reputable sources (NPR, NYT and others) and decided to give it a go. Beautiful Ruins is proof that you can tell a book by its cover and I should have followed my initial instincts. It was a fluffy book about shallow people and I heaved a sigh of relief when I finished it. Plenty of people liked it. I didn't.