Thursday, October 6, 2016

"Siracusa," by Delia Ephron

Reading the novel “Siracusa” (Blue Rider Press, 2016), by Delia Ephron, was a rather unpleasant and unsatisfying experience. I am not sure why I kept reading it, but I guess there was just enough suspense to keep me going…and I thought it would get better. But no, it got worse. It is the story of two couples who, with the ten-year-old daughter of one couple, travel together to Italy, first to Rome and then to Siracusa (Syracuse) in Sicily. Although the couples are friends, sort of, they are very different. One connection is that Finn, of one couple, and Lizzie, of the other, used to be in a romantic relationship many years before. Finn’s wife Taylor is completely, unhealthily, caught up in the life of her daughter, and doesn’t care much about anything else. Lizzie’s husband Michael is a semi-famous but stalled writer who is having an affair with a woman back in New York. Not one of them seems very happy, all of them have secrets, and none of them seems to have very robust moral compasses. All seem selfish. The daughter, Snow, is very strange: beautiful and smart, but barely talks, and is portrayed as rather creepy. Long story short, events build up, and there is a disaster which implicates, in one way or another, all of the main characters. What they do, or don’t do, afterward makes the reader like them even less. In other words, although this novel is compelling in some ways, it has a nasty taste.
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