(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Walter's newest book (after The Financial Lives of the Poets) will have readers checking out Richard Burton movies and Cinque Terre guidebooks after marveling at his imagination and spot-on characters. It's 1962, and Dee Moray, an American starlet, has just fled the tumultuous Roman set of Cleopatra to hole up in a dilapidated hotel in an obscure Italian seaside village. Pasquale Tursi, the young proprietor of the Hotel Adequate View, is instantly smitten. Flash-forward 50 years. Claire, the ambitious yet practical young assistant to the once-legendary producer Michael Deane, is enduring another Wild Pitch Friday. A screenwriter desperate to sell his script ("Donner! An epic story of resiliency!") and an older Italian man bearing Deane's tattered business card both appear at Claire's door. Walter expertly traces the lines among these characters, using keen wit and snappy dialog to express the theme that "life was a glorious catastrophe." VERDICT The pop-culture references and wistful tone will please Nick Hornby fans and build Walter's following. Not to be missed. [See Prepub Alert, 12/19/11.]-Christine Perkins, Bellingham P.L., WA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* In 1962, Pasquale Tursi, inheritor-proprietor of the Hotel Adequate View in Porto Vergogna, Italy, a tiny coastal village visited only by tourists who overshoot the similarly named neighbor they intended to go to, is shocked when beautiful, sickly American starlet Dee Moray arrives, on purpose. The reason for her presence, the botched cover-up of a minor disaster that occurred, in all places, on the set of the epically doomed Cleopatra, becomes but the first of the novel's many disasters. The story moves to present-day Hollywood, home to a shark producer and his young assistant who's hungry for the magic of cinema's golden era but too smart to quit the reality-show revenue. To say Walter succeeds in stitching past to present, continent to continent, undercuts the book entirely; he rather reimagines history in a package so appealing we'd be idiots not to buy it. At one point, from their perch on a tiny paddleboat, a drunken Richard Burton turns to Pasquale to note, This is one strange goddamn movie. Walter tragicomically exposes the recesses between the desires and intentions of his protagonists and how close the two might be if it weren't for the rest of the world. A novel shot in sparkly Technicolor.--Bostrom, Annie Copyright 2010 Booklist