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De Spaanse strijkstok by Andromeda Romano
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De Spaanse strijkstok (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Andromeda Romano

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267None43,212 (3.69)34
Member:wimtimperman
Title:De Spaanse strijkstok
Authors:Andromeda Romano
Info:Amsterdam Mouria cop. 2007
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**
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The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax (2007)

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» See also 34 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Startlingly good: I've gained a certain appreciation for novels from Spain recently, though they have to be translated into English for me to read them I'm afraid. I enjoyed the Shadow of the Wind, and I'm a big fan of Arturo Perez-Reverte. So when someone handed me this advance copy of this book, I approached it with high expectations. Those expectations were fulfilled: this is a wonderful, intelligent, unusual first novel, with a fascinating cast of characters, a strange plot, and interesting settings.



The main character starts out being misnamed. His mother wanted to call him Feliz, but the notary wound up writing Feliu instead. He grows, and at an early age, when his father dies in Cuba (then a Spanish colony, soon to be liberated by the U.S.) the mother receives a box of gifts from the dead father, and distributes them among the children. Feliu winds up with a bow, the thing you draw across the strings of a violin or a cello to make music. When an adolescent, his Catalonian village is visited by a pianist who performs. Justo Al-Cerraz is a child prodigy who's grown up, and still performs around the country. When Justo visits the village, Feliu is playing the violin, trying to learn it, but one of Justo's trio-mates is a cellist, and that puts Feliu into sort of a trance where he feels he must play only that instrument. He winds up going to Barcelona to learn.



From there the novel takes many turns, with Justo and Feliu eventually becoming partners, then meeting up with a third player, a violinist who's an Italian Jew. By now, the plot has worked its way forward to the thirties, and the inevitable confrontation between the Nazis and the main characters comes very much at the end of the book. While the plot's important to the book, and the ending is fascinating, it's the journey that's the most enthralling thing about this book. The author enfolds you in the world of music in the 20s and 30s, and does a wonderful job of recreating what it's like to be a musician, at least from the point of view of the traveling, performing, and working.



I really enjoyed this book. The characters especially are very well-drawn and interesting, and the story is fascinating. I would recommend it to almost anyone interested in the period, in music, or interested in novels about life.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
fictional story about Feliu, a child prodigy with the cello, and his account of the revolution of his homeland Spain. His struggles with taking on a political stand and being an artist. It was frustrating at times to deal with his indecisiveness regarding his love interest which ultimatey resulted in permanent loss. He compromises his principles in the end for the sake of a woman he never succeeded in winning. Perhaps that is the moral of the story. The sacrifices we make are not necessarily for our own benefit. ( )
  sanchef | Sep 25, 2010 |
This is the story of cellist Feliu Delargo and his stormy relationship with pianist Justo Al-Cerraz and violinist Jewish violinist Aviva. It is set against a backdrop of political turmoil in Spain and other parts of Europe, particularly during the rise of Hitler and Franco. It's a beautifully written novel, capturing the political feel of Spain in the first half of the 20th century. ( )
  thornton37814 | Aug 6, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This was a wonderful read, a fictionalized history of Spain from the early 1900's up to the eve of WWII as seen through the eyes of Feliu Delargo who is a child prodigy on the cello who meets many historical figures as he grows into a first class cellist. It is also the story of his relationship with a well known pianist Justo Al Cerraz which is interrupted by Franco's victory in the Spanish civil war. Also, there is Aviva, a beautiful neurotic Jewish violinist who becomes important to both of them . Highly recommended



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  Risa15 | Aug 24, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"The Spanish Bow" tells the story of Feliu, a cellist whose career spans the first half of the twentieth century. Feliu witnesses the great events of age; the Spanish Civil War, the rise of Franco and the beginning of World War II. He meets many of the great names of the day, both musical and political. Despite all of this, Feliu, himself, remains a cipher, unwilling as he is to take action. The parts of his life where he is most active and involved are skirted quickly, the times he let events and people control him are dealt with in detail. Feliu loves deeply, but never brings himself to declare his feelings. His friends, a pianist and a violinist have exciting tales to tell. In the end, it is Feliu's passivity that keeps the book firmly on the ground, failing to soar with the notes made with his beloved cello bow.

This is a worthy book, which gives the reader a glimpse of Spanish history, without burdening him with any of the passion or nuances of the events pictured. Romano-Lax writes well and I look forward to her next outing into historical fiction. ( )
1 vote RidgewayGirl | Aug 3, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Andromeda Romano-Lax's ambitious debut, The Spanish Bow, a sweeping memoir of a fictional Spanish cellist, Feliu Delargo.
Here, the proliferation of real figures is as overwhelming, close to what Slavoj Zizek calls the 'parallax view' - an impossible shortcut between two levels that can't be spoken about in the same terms.
added by sneuper | editThe Observer, Ben Bollig (Jan 6, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andromeda Romano-Laxprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gelder, Mariëtte vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A Brian Lax y Elizabeth Sheinkman, con respeto y gratitud.
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I was almost born Happy.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151015422, Hardcover)

**DEBUT FICTION**
 
I was almost born Happy.
Literally, Feliz was the Spanish name my mother wanted for me. Not a family name, not a local name, just a hope, stated in the farthest-reaching language she knew—a language that once reached around the world, to the Netherlands, Africa, the Americas, the Philippines. Only music has reached farther and penetrated more deeply.

In a dusty, turn-of-the-century Catalan village, the bequest of a cello bow sets young Feliu Delargo on the unlikely path of becoming a musician. Anarchist Barcelona and the court of the embattled monarchy in Madrid teach him his first serious lessons in creativity, principle, and passion—and their consequences. When he meets up with the charming and eccentric piano prodigy Justo Al-Cerraz, their lifelong friendship and rivalry orchestrate a tumultuous course for them both. Over the span of half a century of creative struggle and international turmoil that sees them paying house calls on Picasso one year and being courted by dictators the next, they make glorious music together, and clash over virtually everything else: love, politics, and the purpose of art. When the tensions propelling a war-torn world toward catastrophe bring Aviva, an Italian violinist with a haunted past, into their lives, Feliu and Justo embark upon their final and most dangerous collaboration.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:10 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A young cello player and an egotistical pianist must cope with the political and social changes in Spain in the first half of the twentieth century, deciding when their personal beliefs should prevent them from performing.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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