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Abroad: A Novel Hardcover – June 17, 2014
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Crouch (Men and Dogs, 2010) draws inspiration from recent headlines and ancient Italian history alike in this based-on-fact tale of an innocent on foreign ground. The lucky recipient of a study-abroad scholarship, Tabitha—Taz for short—leaves her native Ireland for Grifonia, Italy, where she and hundreds of other college students are thrown together without supervision and nothing to do but study and explore. Against her expectations, Taz finds herself running with a glamorous crowd. Crouch lets us know from the novel’s first lines that things are not what they seem, and as the plot unspools, the reader learns, through flashbacks to the lives of women of the past, just how deeply the secrets of Grifonia are buried. Crouch steadily strengthens an ominous undercurrent sweeping toward Taz, whose fragile, eager personality Crouch conveys with mastery along with Taz’s equally unique and compelling friends and lovers. The novel’s voice is absolute, its appeal irresistible, and the ending is simultaneously poignant and horrific. Abroad will not disappoint any reader, especially those interested in Europe’s rich history and ambience. --Amber Peckham
“Crouch ventures daringly into dark new terrain… with a psychological grab-your-throat thriller. Crouch gives indelible voice to the murder victim… [and] the novel… holds you in its ever-tightening grip, with a heady mix of history, burning secrets and exquisite language.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“Abroad is gorgeously written, with a steady drumbeat of dread infusing every page... It is astonishingly self-assured and perfectly paced without ever taking on a whiff of tabloid sensationalism. Author Katie Crouch captures the intoxicating--and sometimes dangerous--freedom of being a young student with seemingly limitless choices.” ―BookPage
“A psychological thriller that'll make you shiver on a warm summer's night.” ―Chicago Tribune Printers Row
“A beautiful commentary on the ephemeral nature of life and love.” ―Charleston Magazine
“Provocative, empathetic.” ―New Republic
“Crouch conveys [her characters] with mastery…. The novel's voice is absolute, its appeal irresistible, and the ending is simultaneously poignant and horrific. Abroad will not disappoint any reader.” ―Booklist
“Crouch skillfully explores how the influence of peer pressure and the desire to be accepted impacts insecure young women…. The author presents a riveting look into the social dynamics of young women freed from the social dictates of their childhood homes.” ―Library Journal
“Katie Crouch's beautiful and haunting novel is so much more than a fictionalized account of a true crime in an Italian college town. It's a guided tour of the winding and sometimes twisted avenues that lead strangers to a place of friendship, love, treachery, and sacrifice. I loved this book.” ―Ann Leary, author of The Good House
“Abroad is a riveting page-turner populated by vain, destructive, and yet altogether intriguing characters. A tribute to the complexities of youth, a vivid picture of both ancient and modern Italy, and most of all, a complex psychological thriller, Abroad will incite debate, admiration, and awe.” ―Vendela Vida, author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers
“Katie Crouch has the artist's gaze that lets her look at a moment as contemporary as a tabloid headline and see the eternal verities within it. Abroad combines her winsomely modern ear with an eye for the perils and ecstasies that have defined young-womanhood across centuries.” ―Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges
“Katie Crouch's Abroad is as seductive as a chilled Campari on a sunny Italian afternoon. Crouch excels at describing the complex geography of female friendship. Her tale of an innocent abroad mixes murder, lust, and Etruscan mythology into a heady cocktail.” ―Tatjana Soli, New York Times bestselling author of The Lotus Eaters
“From the first page of this cunningly suspenseful, brilliantly imagined novel, you know where you're headed--but then again, you don't. With uncanny psychological precision and a dark, dead-on wit, Katie Crouch explores how the casual follies of youth all too quickly turn tragic. That she does so by blending ancient history with a true-crime story whose twists and turns still claim international headlines makes it all the more powerful. Prepare to be entertained, terrified, and haunted.” ―Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of Three Junes
“A classic character study, a strong plot, and taut pacing make this novel a good read. The codas that sit between chapters and hold all that history, true and imagined; the elegant prose; and a deeply human sensibility are what elevate it to an incredible read.” ―Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas and The Virgin of Flames
“Katie Crouch's Abroad had me miss an appointment, hide in the bathroom to escape guests and read a few more pages, and finally surrender by getting into bed to feverishly drink this addictive book in one long gulp. Abroad sneakily lures you in with its five alluring women in search of enlightenment--or at least friendship--in a foreign land, and then startles you with its complexity. Crouch is a master writer who captures a provocative news story and then wrestles it, through mythology and history, to stare at death and what lies beyond it.” ―Deb Olin Unferth, author of Vacation
“From her opening line . . . Crouch grabs you and never lets go.” ―Meredith Maran, People on Men and Dogs
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Taz is a beguiling girl. Even after death, she is unsure of her power over those around her. She is sharply aware of the divide between herself and the friends she makes, and only sporadically does she realize her own beauty and charisma. The book successfully makes her a distinctive soul while keeping her an "everywoman". The setting comes strikingly clear in its discordant modern and ancient divisions. The question of Taz's location in the afterlife seductively twines with the mysteries of the Etruscan civilization that vanished without a literature in the same hills. Their ghosts hover silently in the pages of this novel. While this book enacts a famous recent murder in Italy, its allure far surpasses the echo. This is a wonderful story of the short life of a young woman too close to peril as she struggles for a new horizon.
Most recent customer reviews
poor character development
lots of potential - maybe next time katie crouch