The comedic rollercoaster of a novel, Beautiful Ruins (Harper, $25.95), begins in Italy, 1962. A young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: She is an American starlet, and she is dying. The story begins again today, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a Hollywood movie studio's back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier. “. . . an interlocking, continent-hopping, decade-spanning novel with heart and pathos to burn, all big dreams, lost loves, deep longings and damn near perfect.”—Salon. Jess Walter is the author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, the Edgar Award-winning Citizen Vince, Land of the Blind, and the New York Times Notable Book Over Tumbled Graves.