By Katie Crouch
(Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374100360, 282pp.)
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
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Not since Donna Tartt's "The Secret History" has a novel this intoxicating captured the headiness and dark temptations of university life.
The old Etruscan city of Grifonia swarms with year-abroad students--thousands of them from all over. Ostensibly, they've come to study. But really they are here to reinvent themselves, to shuck their identities and buck constraints far from the watchful eyes of parents and others who know them too well. There's a reason Henry James's young ladies went to Europe with chaperones. Today's young ladies don't.
In "Abroad," the bestselling novelist Katie Crouch--whose "Girls in Trucks" brilliantly portrayed the cruelties of postcollege New York life on a Southern girl trying to make her way--tears a story from international headlines and transforms it into a page-turning parable of modern girlhood, full of longing and reckless behavior. As the heroine (and the reader) of "Abroad "will soon discover, Grifonia is a city filled with dangerous secrets of many kinds: ancient, eternal, infernal.
"Prepare to have your heart broken while laughing out loud at this breathtaking, scathingly sardonic novel," wrote "People" magazine's reviewer about Crouch's "Men and Dogs." "From her opening line. . . Crouch grabs you and never lets go." In "Abroad," Crouch's mesmerizing talents are again on full display.