From 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.)
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Set against the tumultuous backdrop of turn-of-the-century Spain, this fusion of art and politics traces the professional and personal evolution of a world-class cellist. As Feliu Delargo moves from prodigy to major talent, he travels from anarchist Barcelona to royalist Madrid. The volatile relationship between the idealistic Delargo and the pragmatic pianist Justo Al-Cerraz mirrors all the passion and turmoil of a Spain on the brink of civil war. Colleagues, friends, and rivals, the two take radically divergent paths when Franco assumes power, but are reunited in Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion. Joining forces, they prepare for one last fateful concert in order to save Aviva, the Jewish violinist they both love. This riveting historical page-turner moves inexorably toward a heartrending crescendo. Flanagan, Margaret