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Siracusa
Cover of Siracusa
Siracusa
A New York Times Bestseller
One of People Magazine's Top 10 Books of 2016
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016 (Fiction)
A Washington Post BestsellerA Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A USA Today BestsellerOne of Vulture's 100 Greatest Beach Books EverA People Magazine Summer Reading PickOne of Elle, InStyle, and Marie Claire's Best of July
"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

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.
A New York Times Bestseller
One of People Magazine's Top 10 Books of 2016
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016 (Fiction)
A Washington Post BestsellerA Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A USA Today BestsellerOne of Vulture's 100 Greatest Beach Books EverA People Magazine Summer Reading PickOne of Elle, InStyle, and Marie Claire's Best of July
"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

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.
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

    Copyright © 2016 Delia Ephron

    Lizzie



    I have a snapshot of me standing on Finn's shoulders when I was twenty-nine, a trick we'd perfected. I would sprint toward him and work up enough steam to climb his back to his shoulders. I look triumphant and not a little surprised to have done this—it was unlikely I would ever stand on a man's shoulders, having been neither a cheerleader nor a gymnast, and I am not physically daring (a deficiency). I was unhappy that day on a Maine beach fifteen years ago, but you'd never know it from the four-by-six glossy. Finn and I broke up that afternoon.

    In the photo I am looking at now, you can read my mind. I am depressed. I'm hunched on a stone bench, wearing a black quilted jacket, not flattering. There I am looking like winter on a June day. Behind me in the distance lies the little port, dotted with sailboats and small yachts, one of Siracusa's few sweet spots.

    My hair, always a tumble, is messy in a way that suggests I hadn't bothered with it. My eyes are hidden behind sunglasses. This seems intentional. I was confronting the camera, my face turned toward it but flat. I had neither the inclination nor energy to strike a pose.

    Who took the picture? I can't remember. Events that day are muddy. Suppressed? It's been a year and some of us no longer speak, not the ones that you would expect or maybe you would. I didn't. Since the photo is on my cell, odds are Michael is the photographer, although possibly not because I am centered in the photo. The subjects in Michael's shots are frequently missing the tops of their heads or their arms.

    Snow should never have been on the vacation at all. It was a grown-ups' trip, but Taylor never went anywhere without her, so Finn said. Although you never know in a marriage who is responsible for what, do you? Husbands and wives collaborate, hiding even from themselves who is calling the shots and who is along for the ride.

    She was ten years old and a mystery. Finn and Taylor's daughter. "She is brilliant," said Taylor, but in England the year before Snow had spoken rarely and then softly. Her mother had ordered for her. The waiter would look at Snow studying the menu, clearly intelligent, and Taylor would speak. Snow often read straight through a meal, the iPad open on her lap. When I asked her a direct question, she looked to her mother. Anxious, I'd thought. For rescue. "You prefer milk chocolate, don't you?" said Taylor. "You loved that movie Pitch Perfect? Didn't we see it three times?"

    For Michael and me Snow was wallpaper.

    I've barely begun and undoubtedly with that remark, I've turned you against me. I'm like that, unpleasantly blunt. Some people like it, some hate it. I tend not to worry. Finn would be horrified to hear that even if he were not Snow's father, but not Michael because he's a writer. Writers often forgive cruel observations. They even admire them. It makes them feel empowered, justified, off the hook for their own ruthless words. For doing that thing writers think is their right: taking a friend, swallowing him (or her) whole, and turning him into a character to suit their own fictional purposes.

    The trip was my idea, a moment of spontaneity, enthusiasm, and slight inebriation. Liquor played a role right from the start.

    Since our summer f ling years before, Finn and I had maintained an attachment that neither of us fully understood. We were given to bursts of e-mail intimacy, intense for a few months, then lapsing for longer. The intermittent friendship was solely between us. We'd been at each other's weddings, but the...

About the Author-
  • Delia Ephron is a bestselling author and screenwriter. She has written novels, including The Lion Is In and Hanging Up; humor books for all ages, including How to Eat Like a Child and Do I Have to Say Hello?; and nonfiction, most recently Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.). Her films include You've Got Mail, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Hanging Up (based on her novel), and Michael. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Vogue, and Vanity Fair. Her hit play Love, Loss, and What I Wore (co-written with Nora Ephron) ran for more than two years off-Broadway and has been performed all over the world. She lives in New York City.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine This stylishly written and razor-sharp novel of manners is perfect for audio since the achievement and pleasure of the book comes from the crossruff among four different voices as each tells his or her version of what happened in Siracusa. Michael and Lizzie, a childless couple from New York, travel to Italy with Taylor and Finn, a not-very-happy couple from Portland, Maine, with their young daughter, Snow. Finn and Lizzie know each other entirely too well, we soon learn, and none of the others have read each other well, not even beautiful, precocious, creepy little Snowy. Each adult is voiced by a different narrator, and all four hit their marks with wonderful crispness and understanding of the characters they play. An absolutely delicious listen. B.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from May 2, 2016
    Ephron (Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.)) undertakes a seductive and edgy dissection of two imploding marriages—and an unhinged mother-daughter alliance—alternately narrated by two ex-lovers who recount how a lifetime of small disappointments and delusions leads them to share a twisted secret. Ephron builds the mesmerizing suspense around Lizzie, a journalist, and Finn, a restaurateur, now each unhappily married: Lizzie to famed and flamed-out author Michael, and Finn to controlling and insecure Taylor. The couples’ shared vacation in Italy, which includes Finn and Taylor’s shy and manipulative 10-year-old daughter, Snow, unravels like a Greek tragedy in Siracusa, where Michael’s mistress shows up to force his breakup with Lizzie. 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. “Husbands and wives collaborate, hiding even from themselves who is calling the shots and who is along for the ride,” Lizzie says at the outset of her narrative. At its end, she marvels “at the person I turned out to be.” Agent: Lynn Nesbit, Janklow & Nesbit.

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