Wednesday, September 16, 2009
THE SPANISH BOW - Andromeda Romano Lax
Feliu was almost born Feliz, which means "happy" in Spanish. After the birth, he lay still and silent, so they began to fill out his death certificate. Due to a slight spelling error, his name was changed.
This signifies the theme of the novel: a slight change can have divining ripples throughout the rest of someone's life. For example, after his father's death, he received a bow without horsehair, too big for a violin, but how else could it be used? As a small child in rural Catalonia during the turn of the twentieth century, Feliu knew nothing about music until, by chance, he meets the famed pianist, Al-Cerraz. Through one note, Feliu is set upon a lifetime of learning the cello, a lifetime that includes historical appearances by King Alfonso and Queen Ena, as well as Picasso.
The author, a practiced cellist in her own right, pours her love for the instrument into this novel. As for the historical aspects, there are some tidbits that are stretched to fit the narrative. This never broke the spell for me of this fascinating world of music and artistry... at least, until the final chapter. Rather than continue with the wavering lines of fate, there is a loud splash of a giant rock thrown into the pool.
While the ending disappointed me, I still find myself reflecting on the other aspects of the novel and appreciate the dedication to historical aspects. When one can enjoy a piece of literature and learn from it, I believe it is worth a look.
3.75 out of 5.0 Spanish Super-Charged Coffees.