Saturday, July 28, 2007

Book report: Andromeda Romano-Lax/The Spanish Bow

Finally!! The book I was so excited to read after BEA! Alas for the bibliophile who works in publishing, for she shall never find time to do what she loves best.

THE SPANISH BOW is a truly rich and lovely debut novel about a Catalan cellist born at the turn of the 20th Century. Feliu Delargo, crippled at birth and raised in the impoverished wake of a fallen father, knows he is meant to play a cello the first time he hears one. The talented and unrelenting Feliu makes his way to Barcelona and then the royal palace before meeting his best friend and nemesis, a larger-than-life concert pianist and would-be composer who drags Feliu across Europe.

PW accuses Feliu of, essentially, being a Spanish Forrest Gump. And while this is true--he seems to have an uncanny knack for appearing in the right place at the right time for every major event in 20th century Spanish history to rub elbows with Queen Ena, Franco, Hoover, Hitler, Picasso, etc--Feliu is much more. His story is the winding tale of a lonely man who must negotiate his own rigorous ideas of right and wrong in a society where scruples are not rewarded.

The book is masterfully researched and leaves you fulfilled on many levels--yes, you'll learn all about Spain and its many pockets, about the civil war, about music and politics and history, but it's all disguised in a most beguiling pageant of unrequited love and complex and blighted friendship. Don't be put off by the length (it's 550 pages). The story flies by. Everyone should read this.


Andromeda said...

Not sure of the protocol on blogging back, but thank you for the review. I'm very glad you liked it. Also wanted to let you know I just went online this week with a new website, on which you'll find an interactive map of my novel's settings (where is Campo Seco?), music clips that match excerpts from the book (just in case a reader is curious to know what folkloric Spanish piano or the Dvorak Cello Concerto sound like)and more.

Obviously, I love books, book reviews, book lists, etc. -- can't get enough living in Alaska -- so I appreciate your site.

andromeda said...

The site is