The Detour -

Andromeda Romano-Lax

Published by Blackstone Audio
ISBN 10: 0792784200 / ISBN 13: 9780792784203
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Synopsis: 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 Fuhrer. 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.

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 romanolax.com.
  • 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.

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Title: The Detour -
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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