Today’s #PreFridayReads is brought to you by the amazing Sonja Yoerg. She tells us all why Siracusa by Delia Ephron should snag a spot on our TBR piles!
Don’t you love it when you happen to read the perfect book for a particular occasion? The stars must align and that kind of magic doesn’t happen often, at least not to me. A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were flying back from New Zealand (thirteen hours of flying followed by six more) and I started reading Siracusa by Delia Ephron. It had been languishing on my Kindle for some time. I didn’t remember buying it and if I ever knew what it was about, I’d forgotten. Hey, it happens to you, too, right?
The essentials: Two couples are vacationing in Siracusa, Italy. Lizzie and Michael are writers, although Lizzie is underwhelmed by her work as a journalist–underwhelmed by life, really—and anxious about her marriage. The other couple, Taylor and Finn, aren’t doing much better, in part because Taylor is fixated on their daughter, Snow, a bizarrely adult ten-year-old who comes along to jolly things up. Also, Lizzie and Finn used to be an item. That’s awkward.
The story is told by these complicated, troubled adults in alternating points of view. Ephron knows what she is doing with this shifting focus, divulging tidbits here, occluding the truth there. It makes for compulsive reading; I almost forgot to order wine when the drinks cart came by! This book is a little bit of everything: touching, creepy, sexy, sad and, at times, hilarious. And it is dark. (Not The Dinner Party dark. Not take a shower afterward dark.) Did I love these folks? No. But it felt very real to me. And the shenanigans certainly did pass the time.
One more thing. Ephron can write the heck out of a page.
So, my friends, when the flaps are up, what sort of book do you want to curl up with in the window seat?
An electrifying novel about marriage and deceit from bestselling author Delia Ephron that follows two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from one another are exposed and relationships are unraveled.
New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn; his wife, Taylor; and their daughter, Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage.
With her inimitable psychological astuteness and uncanny understanding of the human heart, Ephron delivers a powerful meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea, Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that none will see coming.
Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and published a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA, 2001). Penguin/Berkley publishes Sonja’s novels: HOUSE BROKEN (Jan 2015), MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE (Sep 2015) and ALL THE BEST PEOPLE (May 2017). She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.