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The Detour: A Novel by [Andromeda Romano-Lax]
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The Detour: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 45 ratings

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible book:
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Editorial Reviews


As Nazi Germany passes from living memory, novels that allow the reader to travel its ethical landscape are increasingly important. Andromeda Romano-Lax has a fine feel for moments of clarity that are recognized only in hindsight, when chance and personal defects-moral and physical-combine to produce heroism, or mediocrity, or cowardice.

-- "Mary Doria Russell, New York Times bestselling author"

Romano-Lax brings inertia to her narrative, deflating the foreboding of this German's imploding assignment.

-- "Publishers Weekly"

A gently haunting work of subtle and surprising wisdom.

-- "Booklist"

Romano-Lax is singularly gifted: she creates full-fledged, engaging characters and writes compelling narrative. Some of her descriptive passages take your breath away. The author's The Spanish Bow was a hit. This novel will make a splash, too, for the same reasons.

-- "Library Journal"

With elegance and an eye for the unexpected, Ms. Romano-Lax distills the often overwhelming anguish of World War II into this elegiac tale of an earnest young art curator's journey into Italy, where he finds himself caught between his reverence for the past and the horrors of the future. An evocative portrait of one man's passage into maturity and the resiliency of the human spirit, even in midst of the unimaginable.

-- "C. W. Gortner, author of The Last Queen"

A poignant and important historical drama, as well as part road trip and compelling adventure, The Detour defies our expectations on every page. Andromeda Romano-Lax is a powerful and moving storyteller.

-- "Jennifer Gilmore, author of Something Red"

A marvelous adventure across landscapes both inner and outer, The Detour is a moving study in art and memory, history and geography, courage and compassion and every kind of love. Beautifully executed, deeply felt, and crammed with what feels for all the world like reality itself, it's a rare and valuable book indeed.

-- "Jon Clinch, author of Finn and Kings of the Earth"

The Detour is a suspenseful tale of artistic ideals, culture and power, complex family bonds, and redemptive love with one of the most finely crafted narratives I've ever read. It's certain to earn Andromeda Romano-Lax a new level of readership. Vivid and heartbreaking, set against a shameful time in world history, Lax celebrates the resilience of the human condition, and its ability to heal against all odds.

-- "Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Solomon's Oak"

The Detour is a wonderfully evocative and lyrical novel-a coming of age story woven into an adventure of art-smuggling under the Nazis. Romano-Lax brilliantly depicts a triumph over the seductive dangers of passivity when faced by love, art and the moral choices of life. A gemstone of a book!

-- "Simon Goldhill, author of Jerusalem"

The Detour is both a thriller and a poetic journey of a young art specialist and an ancient statue through the deceits and dangers of the Third Reich. Plunging into crazy adventures in a truck on the back roads of Italy and fleeing long-buried memories, Ernst seeks the safe delivery of the statue and in the process discovers loyalty, love, and his own soul. Andromeda Romano-Lax is a unique and wonderfully gifted writer.

-- "Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

From the Author

Several years ago, I came across a photograph of a classical statue called the Discus Thrower, a Roman copy of an even earlier ancient Greek marble. I read, in a minor footnote, that Hitler insisted on buying it from Italy in 1938, against the objections of some Italians. Why, I wanted to know, was Hitler obsessed with this particular work of art? What was he seeing in it that I couldn't immediately fathom? Why would this image matter so much at this time, on the eve of war? As soon as I'd imagined that question, a character began to take shape: not Hitler, the infamous failed painter and art thief, but an unknown and apolitical underling named Ernst Vogler, whose job would be to go to Rome, pick up the statue, and escort it home to Munich, along Italian back roads. I knew from the beginning that much would go wrong, but that the journey itself would change Ernst's life. I hope that readers will come away with a strong sense of that ethically difficult time period and their own questions about the role of art, the complications of history, and the way our intensely personal lives intersect with larger, uncontrollable events.
  • A reader's guide is available at
  • Book clubs interested in pairing this novel with food might consider: mushroom risotto (or anything with truffles, you'll understand why), olives, Italian cheese and red wine from the Piedmont or Tuscany--though really, any red wine will do.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • File Size : 1783 KB
  • Print Length : 320 pages
  • ASIN : B00541FJPQ
  • Publication Date : February 14, 2012
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Publisher : Soho Press (February 14, 2012)
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.3 out of 5 stars 45 ratings