Utterly captivating and completely original, this story both pays homage to--and flips the script of--classic drama by making its ancient Sicilian characters seem like people you'd run into at your neighborhood pub. The novel centers on the staging of a Euripides tragedy in a most unlikely place, and it is one of the most unique reading experiences you'll have this year.
This is the sort of book you just want to hang out in for a while. The story centers on Maia, a jaded mid-twenties dropout, and Gloria, the naive and spoiled teenage influencer who hires her as an image consultant. In the span of 200 pages, Graziosi delivers a narrative that is minimal and nuanced, and kind to its characters, who are familiar and unexpectedly likeable.
While it's hard not to read this novel without a bit of disdain for the landed gentry, Hal is nevertheless a sympathetic protagonist. He's a Roman Roy type--traumatized, sociopathic, gay, entitled, and charismatic, inserted into the Austenian landscape of a wilting nobility. Bratton expertly displays hypocrisy and contradiction from all angles: a cash poor upper class, a pious abuser, a reluctant heir who feels the world is his birthright. This book is so funny and disturbing and enthralling, I want to shout my recommendation from the rooftops (but not without at least a dozen content warnings).