Beautiful Ruins Summary & Study Guide

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Beautiful Ruins Summary & Study Guide Description

Beautiful Ruins Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Beautiful Ruins is a novel by Jess Walter. This novel moves back and forth in time, telling the story of the lives of five separate characters. Each character will interact with the others in unique and fascinating ways. It all revolves around an actor and the starlet who loves him. Beautiful Ruins is a novel that highlights the apparent insignificance of a single life while exploring the many ways in which one person can unwittingly impact the lives of many others.

Pasquale Tursi is a young man who has recently left college to care for his elderly mother in the aftermath of his father’s death. With his mother, come an eccentric aunt and a hotel on the most unhospitable village off of the coast of Italy. Pasquale spends his days trying to figure out ways to entice visitors to his hotel, including the building of a beach and a tennis court. The hotel rarely has visitors. Therefore, Pasquale is surprised when a young American starlet comes to the hotel.

The starlet, Dee Moray, is an actress from the film shooting in Rome, Cleopatra. Dee is sick, however, and has been sent to stay on the village until a friend can meet her and together they can move on to Switzerland where she will receive treatments for her illness. However, in the course of her stay, Pasquale discovers that she is not ill with cancer, as she believes, but that she is pregnant. When Dee’s friend never arrives, Pasquale takes it upon himself to travel to Rome and find him. Pasquale confronts Michael Deane, the man whose name appears on a paper directing Dee to his hotel. Pasquale thinks Deane is the friend Dee is waiting for.

Deane confirms that Dee is pregnant and that the doctor told her she had cancer as a favor to Deane. Deane had planned to send Dee to Switzerland to receive an abortion without her knowledge. Deane gives Pasquale an envelope full of money for himself and Dee. Before Pasquale can leave, someone takes him to speak with Richard Burton, the actor. Burton tells Deane that he is Dee’s lover and the baby is his. Pasquale agrees to take Burton to Dee, but when they arrive at Pasquale’s hotel, Dee is gone. The owner of a nearby hotel on another village has convinced Dee that she was taken to the wrong hotel and her friend is waiting on the other village. Pasquale takes Burton to Dee on the other village.

A few days later, Pasquale’s mother dies. A writer, Alvis Bender, arrives for his annual vacation. Deane and Burton return, searching for Dee. After Burton and Deane leave, Pasquale walks up to an old World War II bunker he showed to Dee during her stay and finds her hiding there. Pasquale takes Dee back to his hotel and introduces her to Bender. The following day, Pasquale leaves, but not before asking Bender to make sure Dee makes it back to America safely.

Many years later, Michael Deane is a successful movie producer who has fallen on bad times. In the past ten years, he has only had two hits and one is a questionable reality show. His chief development assistant, Claire Silver, has become so disillusioned by the lack of good film scripts that she is considering taking another job. Claire decides that she will make her decision based on whether or not a good movie script will be presented to her during Wild Pitch Friday. However, it does not go well and she has almost decided not only to change jobs, but to break up with her boyfriend as well, when she returns to the office and finds Shane, a script writer, and Pasquale Tursi waiting for her.

Pasquale tells Claire that he is looking for Dee Moray and he wants Deane’s help finding her. When Deane hears the name, he rushes to the office to speak to Pasquale. Shane has stayed to help translate Pasquale’s Italian. Shane insists on pitching his movie before he will agree to stay the weekend as Pasquale’s translator. Claire finds Shane’s pitch ridiculous, but Deane agrees to produce it. Claire later realizes that Deane wants to use Shane’s pitch as a way of getting out of his contract with the movie studio. Shane does not mind since he will make a significant amount of money out of it.

Deane’s private detective finds Dee Moray quickly. Dee’s real name is Debra Moore Bender. She left Italy without getting an abortion and gave birth to a son she named Pasquale but calls Pat. She then married Alvis Bender, but he died in a car accident less than four years into their marriage. Dee then became a high school drama and Italian teacher. Pat grew up to become a failed rock musician and an addict. Pat turned his life around, however, and now lives with his mother and girlfriend in Idaho where they run a community theater program together. Dee is dying of cancer.

When Deane, Pasquale, Claire, and Shane arrive at Dee’s house, everyone becomes aware immediately that Deane has arranged this meeting with the idea of exploiting the fact that Pat is Richard Burton’s son. Dee has not told Pat the truth of his paternity, so she is forced to do so. Pat and his girlfriend decide to sell the rights to a play she wrote, but not to sell the rights to Pat’s life. Dee and Pasquale make a visit to Italy where Dee meets Pasquale’s children and grandchildren. Claire decides to remain with Michael Deane productions where she produces the movie version of the play Pat’s girlfriend wrote. Shane uses the money he made from his movie pitch to pay back his ex-wife and to focus on his writing.

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