Satirical novels about the movie business are funny but rarely charming. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter manages to be both.
In 1962, a beautiful actress arrives on the doorstep of Pasquale Tursi’s failing pensione on the Italian coast. Dee Moray is a member of the cast of Cleopatra, which is filming in Rome. Why has Dee been banished to the obscure and remote Hotel Adequate View?
Love-struck Pasquale discovers that a scheming publicist named Michael Deane and Cleopatra star Richard Burton (in a hysterical cameo) are responsible. Confrontation, copious drink, and cacophony ensue.
Fifty years later, Pasquale Tursi arrives at the Los Angeles office of Michael Deane (now a scheming producer) looking for Dee Moray, who he hasn’t seen since the sixties.
With cinematic flair, Jess Walter has written an amusing portrait of Hollywood and an unusual love story.