Siracusa | Delia Ephron
The book I chose for the MMD Reading Challenge category of a Book Set Somewhere You've Never Been but Would Like to Visit is Siracusa, by Delia Ephron. It's set in various cities in Italy, but as one of the narrator's point out, the city of Siracusa is where everything officially unravels.
I love the style in which this story is told- Rashomon Syle, where the same story is told from the viewpoint of several characters. In this case, the story is told by Lizzie, Michael, Finn, and Taylor. Lizzie and Finn dated when they were young. They run into each other several years later, are married to other people, but somehow decide it's a good idea for them and their spouses to become travel companions. Lizzie is a free spirit and decides on Siracusa as their travel destination because it's off the beaten path and likely to annoy Finn's spoiled wife, Taylor. What Lizzie doesn't know is that her husband, Michael, has a mistress and said mistress is going to find her way to Italy as well.
I'll admit- not a one of these characters was very likable. Lizzie is a journalist who lives in the shadow of her one hit wonder writer husband. She thinks she's happy, but is essentially existing and allowing herself to believe that everything is great in her marriage. Finn is a restaurant owner who drinks too much and spends too much time at work to get away from his [weird] wife, Taylor, and their [weirder] daughter, Snow. The relationship between Taylor and Snow is codependent and unhealthy, but we find out that Snow might not be as naive and fragile as she seems. Taylor was comically delusional and I kept waiting for Snow to snap. All of the characters are amazing at lying to themselves, and it was strangely entertaining to watch things unravel.
Three pages in, you already feel like you know so much. I love how the narrators talk straight to the reader and allude to the impending doom right away. It made for a quick and compelling read. This book reminded me of The Nest in a lot of ways, so if you liked that book you would probably like this one. At just over 300 pages, it was a quick read. It's not a story that I'm likely to come back to, but I did enjoy the trip while I was there.