siracusaSiracusa by Delia Ephron.

Two couples from New York and Maine agree to take a trip to Siracusa in Sicily. Neither couple knows what horrific fallout there will be from what should be a pleasant romp.

Taylor and Finn who are from Portland, Maine have a strained relationship. They bring their ten-year-old daughter, Snow, who suffers from extreme shyness syndrome. People call her “spooky” because she rarely talks even though she’s extremely bright.

Michael and Lizzie from New York also have a difficult relationship. Lizzie thinks Michael is cold because he is engrossed with plotting his next book. In actuality, he has been having an affair with a hostess in New York.

This is a tinder box situation. The last place all these people should be going is on a trip together. That’s exactly what they do of course and things get even trickier when Kath, Michael’s lover, shows up.

Ephron, who is also a playwright, gives alternating views of the same events from the adult’s perspective. She does in a way that builds tension until the final shattering moment.  The shattered glass window pane on the book jacket is an apt image.

Thematically, its similar to The Vacationers by Emma Straub.