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Siracusa Hardcover – July 12, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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An Amazon Best Book of July 2016: At the start of Delia Ephron’s slyly sinister, Siracusa, you know something has gone terribly awry in a Sicilian town where two couples have decided to vacation—one of them with their enigmatic ten-year-old in tow. Each chapter, told from different character’s points of view, teases the horror to come, but along the way, other transgressions are revealed that demonstrate just how frayed these relationships are. And then there’s the mysterious Snow; the child whose angelic appearance may, or may not, belie a diabolical side…That is one of the things that makes this propulsive novel such a pleasure, and a torment, to read--Ephron keeps you guessing. She also provides an important lesson for those of you who haven’t learned it from The Amazing Race—choose your travel companions wisely. --Erin Kodicek, The Amazon Book Review
"[Ephron] excels at [depicting] characters’ unintended comedy, their emotional warfare and witty observations of travel and consumption....with a deft, stinging touch. They are a wise reminder that the hungers driving these people are a ravenous, even violent, business."
—The New York Times Book Review
"An irresistible novel for fans of psychological thrillers, or those considering vacationing with former lovers and spouses (often one and the same).
"Sophisticated, elegantly written, delightfully cynical…Ephron’s novel has the feel of a classic.”
—Patrick Anderson, Washington Post
“[A] suspenseful, thoroughly delicious tale. You can almost taste the gelato.”
“Siracusa starts innocuously enough, as an ironic travelogue about American sophisticates abroad...The situation begins to resemble a Ford Madox Ford novel, with each narrator recounting and interpreting the same encounters from vastly differing perspectives….As the clues pile up, the coming storm is expertly foreshadowed—but when it arrives, it's utterly surprising.”
“A seductive and edgy dissection of two imploding marriages—and an unhinged mother-daughter alliance . . . Each of these toxic relationships puts the characters on course to careen headlong into a dark place of deceit and rage in Ephron’s brilliant takedown of marital and familial pretense.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A master of precise and keen character development, a virtuoso of pacing and surprise, a wizard at skewering convention and expectation, Ephron offers a bewitching take on relationships—marital, parental, casual, and serious—in this read-in-one-sitting, escapist escapade with a message.”
“The word ‘unputdownable’ is somewhat overused when describing a good book—but really, I just could not put this book down. Delia Ephron’s Siracusa is a dark tale with incredibly well-drawn characters. It reveals the slights and secrets that can bring about chaos among friends and within families, and adds more than a spoonful of evil into the bargain. I stayed up well past my bedtime to finish.”
—Jacqueline Winspear, author of the Maisie Dobbs novels
“Delia Ephron’s Siracusa is a stunning portrait of two marriages coming unraveled during the stress of travel abroad. Insightful and engaging. A must-read!”
—Sue Grafton, author of X
“Siracusa is an Italian aria, a Greek tragedy and a modern American masterpiece written by Delia Ephron at the height of her powers. This is a story of two complicated marriages, one vulnerable child, and a trip to Italy that changes each of their lives forever. Secrets, lies, love raging, love dying, and the shame of unrealized potential are exposed in detail under the Sicilian sun. And, like the Moro blood oranges that grow there with abandon, the taste is both sour and sweet at once, but the bitterness that remains is not only haunting but unforgettable.”
—Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wife
“Siracusa is an unusually crackling, tricky journey into the distant land of other people’s marriages: their secrets, paradoxes, weaknesses, and pleasures. Delia Ephron writes like a warm-blooded Patricia Highsmith, her story’s treachery matched by a deep and easy feel for the various human, imperfect ways that people find themselves bound together, and sometimes painstakingly unbind themselves. An absorbing, tense, and original novel.”
—Meg Wolitzer, author of The Interestings
“Siracusa is dazzling. Here is Delia Ephron with a stunning noir tale of marriage and morality, as two couples tangled in secret longings and betrayals travel through Italy, along with a gimlet-eyed ten-year-old daughter who could have been created by Henry James. Beware. You will be up all night to finish. I was.”
—Marie Brenner, author of Apples and Oranges
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Lizzie, a journalist who grew up in Berkeley, has chosen the destination in honor of her now deceased father. She has memories of stories he told about the charming town, which others see as decrepit and decomposing.
Her husband Michael, a Pulitzer prize-winner struggling with a novel, is hoping to find what he needs to finish the book. He has a larger-than-life personality, and basks in the glow of others as he tells his tales. He is a “serial fabricator.”
Taylor and her husband Finn seem completely unsuited for each other. Finn still lusts for Lizzie, with whom he once had an affair, and Taylor is wrapped up in a very strange symbiotic relationship with her ten-year-old daughter Snow, who accompanies them on the trip.
Snow…what a strange child, and somehow, she ends up as the centerpiece for the darkness ahead. Her mother believes she is just shy, but brilliant. Others see her as charming, but Lizzie intuits the darkness in her. What unfortunate events will have them pondering the hidden depths of this child? Why is she so drawn to Michael, and will the “crush” she has on him lead to tragedy?
Meanwhile, an interloper arrives in the form of Michael’s latest conquest. What will her presence add and subtract from the vacation?
Siracusa was a tale of unraveling relationships, darkness, and the lies we tell to keep others interested. I enjoyed the multiple narrators that fleshed out the characters and the story, although I rooted for none of them, except possibly Lizzie. Flawed and somewhat jaded, they remind me of people I’ve known, so I couldn’t stop reading this book which earned 5 stars.
I could feel disaster starting to rise over their Italian horizon. And I wondered - Who? When? How? Because I knew IT (something bad) was going to happen.
These four should probably never occupy the same room for even a short period -- the contrast in personalities made for a tinderbox of emotions, with hate, sexual desire, and envy eventually looming. And that very strange child ... who was supposedly so intelligent but very shy? Misdiagnosis.
I will probably read this again to observe how the author moved the characters and slowly built up the tensions. Such a marvelous talent!
Now I have to find a new book read. Why aren't they ALL this good?
Starts a little slow and the characters take time to show their true colors, but the last quarter of the book kept me well past my usual bed time.
If you like Ephron sisters you will like this book