ANDROMEDA ROMANO-LAX has been a journalist, a travel writer, and a serious amateur cellist. Her fiction includes The Spanish Bow, The Detour, and Behave. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her family.
The gift of a cello bow sets young Feliu Delargo on the path to becoming a musician. His education takes him from backwater Catalonia to anarchic Barcelona and, eventually, the royal court in Madrid. He forms an on-again, off-again relationship with eccentric pianist Justo Al-Cerraz, and their fame mushrooms. Though Feliu strives to be a good man, he doesn't always know how to achieve this goal. Does music simply make it easier for monsters to dream sweet dreams? When should a man discard music and take a stand? Pressed into performing for the strutting dictators Hitler and Franco at a clandestine meeting near the Spanish border, Feliu plays to save a friend, but his choice leads to heartbreak. Time and setting, character and plot come together in this exceptionally appealing first novel about a master cellist and his complicated relationship with the country of his birth and the poisoned times in which he performs. Readers will be captivated by this delightful book, loosely inspired by the life of the great cellist Pablo Casals. Recommended for general and historical fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/07.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"* "In her impressive debut, Romano-Lax creates the epic story of Feliu Delargo, an underprivileged child prodigy whose musical ability brings him into contact with world leaders, first-class artists and a life filled with loss and triumph." - Publishers Weekly"
In her impressive debut, Romano-Lax creates the epic story of Feliu Delargo, an underprivileged child prodigy whose musical ability brings him into contact with world leaders, first-class artists and a life filled with loss and triumph. Their father killed in Cuba just before the Spanish-American War, Feliu, his three brothers and one sister manage a meager life in Campo Seco, a small Catalan town, while their strong-willed mother fends off suitors. At 14, Feliu and his mother travel to Barcelona, where a cello tutor agrees to take on Feliu as a student. Over the years, as Feliu establishes himself, he crosses path with Justo Al-Cerra, an egotistical, manipulative pianist, and their touring leads to an intertwining of lives that becomes more complicated when they encounter Aviva, a violinist with her own emotional damage. As the trio tour and Europe careens toward WWII, Romano-Lax weaves into the narrative historical figures from Spanish royalty to Franco and Hitler, giving Feliu the opportunity to ponder the roles of morality in art and art in politics. Though the story has much heart and depth, Feliu's proximity to so many watershed moments of the 20th century can make him feel more like an instructive icon than a person. But for sheer scope and ambition, this is a tough debut to beat. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.