Sunday, August 26, 2007
The Spanish Bow
Romano-Lax, Andromeda. The Spanish Bow. Originally, Romano-Lax intended to write a nonfiction account of the life of Pablo Casals, the Spanish cellist. She found, however, that the story she wanted to tell became the story of Feliu Delargo, who does embody some aspects of the life and times of Casals, but whose story is different.
Romano-Lax compares the book to a collage; an apt comparison, as she appropriates characteristics and events from the lives of various real individuals and recombines them into new characters who will carry forth her story.
From the first chapter, the author captivated me both with the unusual circumstances involving Feliu's birth and with her style. The exposition and development provide the majority of the book, and although I was aware of this, it never made me impatient. It is so easy to flow along with Romano-Lax, to let her set the pace and to be content, to simply take pleasure in her beautiful writing. The background-- Feliu's journey as a musician and his friendship with Al-Cerraz--is crucial to the climax when it does occur at the end of the novel.
I loved the novel. There is little more that I can think to say, and I can't even explain why I loved it so much, but I was pulled completely into this narrative about a man who was, in many ways, ordinary...full of strengths and weaknesses, but who was extraordinary in his talent and in his devotion to his music.
If you read it, be sure to visit The Music of the Bow, where there are excerpts from some of the pieces the author listened to as she wrote. Her musical recommendations will provide me with some new CD's; Spanish Cello Rhapsody will be my first purchase.
Fiction. Historical fiction; music. 2007. Harcourt. 554 pages.