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The Detourby Andromeda Romano Lax
Synopses & Reviews
Ernst Vogler is twenty-six years old in 1938 when he is sent to Rome by his employer—the Third Reich's Sonderprojekte, which is collecting the great art of Europe and bringing it to Germany for the Führer. Vogler is to collect a famous Classical Roman marble statue, The Discus Thrower, and get it to the German border, where it will be turned over to Gestapo custody. It is a simple, three-day job.
Things start to go wrong almost immediately. The Italian twin brothers who have been hired to escort Vogler to the border seem to have priorities besides the task at hand—wild romances, perhaps even criminal jobs on the side—and Vogler quickly loses control of the assignment. The twins set off on a dangerous detour and Vogler realizes he will be lucky to escape this venture with his life, let alone his job. With nothing left to lose, the young German gives himself up to the Italian adventure, to the surprising love and inevitable losses along the way.
The Detour is a bittersweet novel about artistic obsession, misplaced idealism, detours, and second chances, set along the beautiful back-roads of northern Italy on the eve of war.
"The Third Reich's Sonderprojekt, to collect the world's great art, is underway when Romano-Lax's second novel begins, as 24-year-old curator Ernst Vogler, whose mentor has just been sent to Dachau, goes to Italy to retrieve the famous Discus Thrower statue. The young man's simple three-day journey goes awry immediately when his local police escorts — brothers Enzo and Cosimo — take a circuitous route to throw off thieves. Enzo wants to pursue a woman, while Cosimo wants the German to see the beauty around them and grows frustrated at Ernest's stoicism. When tragedy separates the brothers, such concerns take a backseat to survival and protecting the statue for the FÃ¼hrer. Throughout it all, Vogler recalls past incidents as they relate to the Reich, including his father's obsession with his son's physique and his mentor's concern about the world's art being collected for the benefit of only a few (Vogler's own view is that 'the art would outlive the men' who own it). In following a trio of meanderers, Romano-Lax (The Spanish Bow) brings inertia to her narrative, deflating the foreboding of this German's imploding assignment. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Born in 1970 in Chicago, Andromeda Romano-Lax is the author of numerous works of nonfiction and Director of the 49 Alaska Writing Center. Her first novel, The Spanish Bow, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and was translated into 11 languages. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her husband and two children.
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