New Fiction Friday: Siracusa

51fhux5or3l-_sx329_bo1204203200_Over the summer, Siracusa was one of the best books I read. Taking place in coastal Italy, it’s about a dream vacation for two couples that goes horribly wrong. I have always dreamed of visiting Italy, but haven’t made it there yet. This summer I finally made it to the Caribbean, a spot I had also always dreamed of visiting. So, like Michael, Lizzie, Finn, and Taylor, the main characters of this book, I had a lot of expectations. There are many spots in Italy that are so beautiful, that are popular tourist destinations.  This is not, however, where they end up spending their vacation though.

Traveling with these two couples is Finn And Taylor’s daughter, Snow. Lizzie and Michael have no children, and though they have all been friends for years this is their fist trip together.  In the beginning they seem like a group of friends setting out on a fun adventure, but it is soon revealed that both couples are both deeply troubled, and this won’t be a happy trip for anyone.  Even Snow, who seems to be caught in the middle of her parent’s drama.  This shapes the trip significantly, and soon it seems that no one can tolerate each other anymore.

Michael and Lizzie have no children, Michael instead devotes himself to his career – though there is a hint of longing on Lizzie’s part to be a mother. He is a writer, a playwright, and won the Pulitzer Prize for the very first play he wrote. Finn and Taylor have Snow, who is at the center of their lives. They live in Portland, Maine, and are the owners of one of the city’s best restaurants. This is a project that they’ve worked on together. Taylor has been working on molding Finn into the perfect husband, and a cultured and talented chef, though there’s nothing that she spends more time on than Snow. Like many parents, this seems to divide them.

All five characters are incredibly complex, even Snow who is only 11. That’s honestly the best part of the book – the depth and complexity of the characters. But the plot is also complex and the ending is pretty surprising. It’s haunting actually, I don’t think I could’ve ever predicted what happens at the end.  And at the end of the book, as much as I love the story, the five main characters are all unlikeable. Yet, the shocking events in Siracusa leave them all unchanged, and after returning home to the states, resume their lives as normal.  While the characters are flawed, the story itself is not.  I think I was caught off guard by this book – but I really loved it!

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