With just three days left, looks like I'll fall short on two of my goals for year 63. But that's a .333 batting average for the year - Ted Williams territory - and the book I finished early today that got me to the one goal I did make is a nearly unqualified winner - "Beautiful Ruins" (2012) by Jess Walter.
This novel was a pretty sure bet from the start. My wife loved it and the librarian who recommended it has rarely let me down. And, sucker for romance that I can be, the last sentence ("And even if they don't find what they're looking for, isn't it enough to be out walking together in the sunlight?") made me gasp with pleasure. The sweep, style and architecture of "Beautiful Ruins" brought back "A Visit From The Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan, a book that still has me reeling two years later. Like "...Goon Squad", "Beautiful Ruins" explodes with rich characters - good (Pasquale Tursi, Lydia Parker), "bad" (Shane Wheeler, Pat Bender), ugly and uglier (Gualfredo, Michael Deane).
If any of you have read this winner or pick it up in the future, I've got to know who you'd cast in the Debra "Dee" Moore/Moray/Bender role. Of course I've already got someone picked, need you ask?