by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Book received from: Publisher
It is Germany, 1938, and Ernst Vogler works for Sonderprojekt, the Third Reich’s project to acquire the great art of Europe for the Fuhrer’s collection. He is sent to Italy to supervise the transport of The Discus Thrower. All he has to do is get the statue to the German border and turn it over to the Gestapo in three days’ time. What should be a simple task quickly turns into the journey of a lifetime.
Vogler travels with twin Italian brothers who are charged with being his guides along the way. However, he realizes perhaps too late that the brothers have different priorities than his own. Vogler must decide whether to stand firm on his mission, or give in to the adventures with which he is tempted. One wrong decision could cost him, and those around him, their lives. With a chance at love and discovering a different side of life, he must choose what is most important for everyone involved.
The Detour is told by Vogler ten years after the events have happened, when he returns to the Italian village that shaped his life in unimaginable ways. As he is walking along the road to what might be his future, but is surely his past, he recounts the events that led him here many years ago. Romano-Lax delivers the story in such a way that it feels as though the reader is walking along beside Vogler, listening to his story. He becomes a companion that is easy to listen to and sympathize with along the way.
This is a story of survival and perseverance. Mostly, though, this is a story about the effects of memory on one’s life, and how much those memories are really reliable. It is easy to romanticize the past, and Vogler is left to decide if things really happened the way he remembers, or if he just wished for more than there really was. Is the lady in his memory real, or just a shadow of what could have been? In a story that is beautifully written and sadly real, we are given a recounting of a life that has been effected by love, loss, and a struggle for survival and identity in a world and time where nothing could be taken for granted.
For more about Andromeda Romano-Lax, visit her website.
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