In Siracusa, two friendly couples - Michael and Lizzie, and Taylor and Finn - and Taylor and Finn’s odd, silent daughter Snow take an uneasy vacation together to Italy. Uneasy because each adult character has a fraught relationship with their spouse and secrets they don’t want revealed, especially on this languorous summer tour through Italy’s ancient towns. When the travelers reach Siracusa, however, all their pent-up frustrations, desires, and hidden fears are slowly exposed by the stress of being in this rundown, hot, primeval Sicilian town. With a slow-burning and torturous approach, Ephron probes the psyches of her damaged characters and how their personal struggles eventually end in betrayal for them all. I don’t want to say too much about this novel because part of the pleasure of reading it lies in the gradual peeling back of the layers of its plot and its characters. I will say though that it is sophisticated, suspenseful, and completely escapist. If you take this to the pool or the beach, bring plenty of sunscreen and lots to drink because you won’t want to leave until you finish. If you like really brilliant novels about betrayal, secrets, lies, and vacations gone wrong - Siracusa is the book for you.
More family vacation books:
The Past by Tessa Hadley
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
Wish You Were Here by Stewart O’Nan