New Yorkers Michael and Lizzie, while on vacation in London, run into their acquaintances from Maine, Finn, his wife Taylor, and their young daughter Snow. After spending a few enjoyable evenings together, they decide to deliberately vacation together the following year in Italy. The plan is to spend a few days in Rome and then travel to the rocky Sicilian city of Siracusa. What could go wrong with this simple plan? Turns out… lots. Siracusa, a new psychological thriller from Delia Ephron, is great summer read; a fast, twisty, unpredictable story.
It’s hard to call these characters “likeable” and yet that did not diminish my enjoyment of the story at all. The story is told in alternating point of view – Michael, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist; Lizzie a struggling journalist; Finn, a restaurateur and ex-boyfriend of Lizzie; and Taylor, his one woman helicopter parent wife. The only person with no narrative is Snow, a strange and enigmatic ten-year old who holds her own with the adult drama by alternatively withdrawing and manipulating. The kid is seriously creepy, and to be completely honest here, I adore creepy kids in stories.
There is plenty of drama here – secrets everywhere, old relationships that are not quite over, both marriages straining to the breaking point, new mistresses showing up, and then Snow. What is that kid’s deal? I still don’t know. I really can’t say much more without spoilers, but I will say that it’s as much about marriage and parenthood and friendship as it is about the central story lines, and I had a hard time being away from in for any length of time. I had not heard much about this book when I started it and was very happily surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Grade – B+