Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review: Beautiful Ruins

"The pieces of his broken life lay on the ground before him like a mirror that had always stared back, but which had now broken to reveal the life behind it."

There you have it. I have, with this excerpt from it, given the book away, at least as I see it. Yes there is a story--a complex one at that. But the point of this novel is, as the title suggests, that we are--after our time around the track-- like beautiful ruins.

While this book has received rave reviews, I thought "Land of the Blind"--another of Jess Walter's novels and the only other novel of his that I have read--was a better read.  There are a number of interesting stories in this book and some wonderful peripheral characters.  However, the story itself--tough to buy.  The presence of real people in a work of fiction seemed odd.  The plot linking the lives of the characters tough to believe.  Also, the confrontational all hands on deck scene in Northern Idaho just was too unlikely and convenient.

So, I did not think the story was so extra, but the point I believe is worth considering.  Not all lives are ruined and fractured.  But many are. And those of us (and I include myself) who do not try to close the gap between what they want and how they live suffer because of it.

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