THE NEW NOVEL by KATIE CROUCH
ARRIVING JUNE 2014 · from SARAH CRICHTON BOOKS
Grifonia, Italy. Home to thousands of years of secrets. Upon entering those ancient walls for her year abroad, Tabitha Deacon is entranced. And under the influence of a new, wealthy group of friends from her program, Taz quickly falls into a life of secretive, eccentric parties in abandoned cathedrals and medieval villas that are like nothing she’s ever imagined.
But Claire, Taz’s plainspoken, unsettlingly beautiful roommate, is worried that Taz isn’t really suited to her new bacchanalian lifestyle. A true friend, Claire wants to get to know Taz as she really is. Then, when both girls fall in love with the same quiet Italian with an odd, undisclosed past, everyone’s morals are called into question. As the girls’ boundaries disappear, Taz and Claire slide towards a terrifying end that seems almost inevitable—as if there is a force of history manipulating them from beneath the ancient city herself.
“From the first page of this cunningly suspenseful, brilliantly imagined novel, you know where you’re headed — but then again, you don’t. With uncanny psychological precision and a dark, dead-on wit, Katie Crouch explores how the casual follies of youth all too quickly turn tragic. That she does so by blending ancient history with a true-crime story whose twists and turns still claim international headlines makes it all the more powerful. Prepare to be entertained, terrified, and haunted.”
–Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of Three Junes and The Widower’s Tale
“Katie Crouch has the artist’s gaze that lets her look at a moment as contemporary as a tabloid headline and see the eternal verities within it. Abroad combines her winsomely modern ear with an eye for the perils and ecstasies that have defined young-womanhood across centuries.”
–Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges and A Thousand Pardons
“Abroad is a riveting page-turner populated by vain, destructive and yet altogether intriguing characters. A tribute to the complexities of youth, a vivid picture of both ancient and modern Italy, and most of all, a complex psychological thriller, Abroad will incite debate, admiration, and awe.
–Vendela Vida, author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers
“Katie Crouch’s beautiful and haunting novel is so much more than a fictionalized account of a true crime in an Italian college town. It’s a guided tour of the winding and sometimes twisted avenues that lead strangers to a place of friendship, love, treachery and sacrifice. I loved this book.”
–Ann Leary, author of The Good House
“Katie Crouch’s Abroad is seductive as a chilled Campari on a sunny Italian afternoon. Crouch excels at describing the complex geography of female friendship. Her tale of an innocent abroad mixes in murder, lust, and Etruscan mythology into a heady cocktail.”
–Tatjana Soli, author of The Lotus Eaters and The Forgetting Tree
“A classic character study, a strong plot and taut pacing make this novel a good read. The codas that sit between chapters and hold all that history – true and imagined, the elegant prose and a deeply human sensibility are what elevate it to an incredible read.”
–Chris Abani, author of The Secret History of Las Vegas and the Virgin of Flames.
A mystery based on the Amanda Knox saga unfolds in this strong fifth novel from the author of Girls in Trucks. Tabitha (“Taz”) Deacon, an Irish student studying abroad in Grifonia, Italy, finds herself caught up in the glamorous lives of a trio of beautiful, and close, fellow students while also nurturing a friendship with her quirky American flatmate, Claire. As Taz spends more time with the Brit Four Society—the nickname bestowed upon her quartet by its leader, Jenny Cole—she becomes increasingly aware of tension beneath the surface. Why don’t the girls let Taz pay for anything? How do they know people in such positions of power? Why do the other girls seem afraid of Jenny? And at the center of the plot is the beautiful, odd Claire, who will be inextricably bound to Taz’s fateful experience. Taz’s friendships develop—and then unravel—against a backdrop of ancient history, in a town that has plenty of its own underlying tension. The similarities to the Amanda Knox story are myriad, and at times distracting, but Crouch explores an overshadowed element of that case: the victim, her thoughts and dreams and mistakes, as well as those she’ll never be able to have or make. “We were all alive, and we loved and hated and lived brilliant, messy existences,” Taz says.