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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (476 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Andromeda Romano-Lax Narrator: Paul Michael Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2007 ISBN: 9780739359181
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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.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gaile Wakeman | 2/16/2014

    " An interesting mystery based on Pablo Casals. I enjoyed it but not the best writing I have ever encountered. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Regina Lindsey | 2/16/2014

    " In his debut novel, Romano-Lux follows the life and musical devlopment of the fictional character, Feliu Delargo. While Delargo is inspired by the historical cellist Pablo Casals, it is clear this is not a fictionalized biography of Casals. In the opening chapters, young Feliu receives news of his father's death in Cuba, which is then followed by the arrival of a bow his father purchased as a gift for his son. Felius is first given violin lessons, at which he shows great talent. However, his true passion is the cello. His pursuit of an education in music takes him from private lessons, to tutelage under a count at King Alfonso and Queen Ena's court, and finally a professional career. Romano-Lux interestingly weaves history, politics, the impacts of other musicians such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and historical characters like Picasso, Hitler, and Kurt Weil. What Romano-Lux does particularly well is demonstrate how art is impacted by current events. Some of the storylines are particularly interesting. I really enjoyed the complex storyline between Feliu and Queen Ena. However, others felt contrived. The most obvious was the relationship between Feliu and Isabelle. I also really appreciated how Romano-Lux used music as an analogy for life, love, and a host of other aspects of life even if some of the comparisons were overstated. I grew up playing the violin but was always fascinated by the cello. So, I connected with Feliu in the beginning of the book. However, by the end I felt a bit detached to the characters. Maybe this was because I was reading the book in snipets on vacation. I still think it was a very good book, particularly for anyone who appreciates classical music. I do believe Romano-Lux shows great promise and will read future works. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 2/15/2014

    " According to the Author's Note at the end of the book, this novel started out as a work of non-fiction, to depict the life of Pablo Casals. Along the way, the author found the need to create new characters, including one for Casals, and turn to fiction in order to express herself, to "immerse myself in something beautiful and hopeful" following 9/11. The result is a passionate and interesting story set against the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of WWII. Lots of historical figures (Franco, Picasso, Goebbels) make appearances within a tale that puts passion for music and loyalty to political ideals and other people (the two loyalties not always matching up well) at the heart of the history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miss Eliza | 2/14/2014

    " An interesting story of a young boy growing up with a fascination over playing the cello. The relationship of 3 musicians is explored in an historical setting in a culture is some degree of upheaval. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caitlin | 2/8/2014

    " I enjoyed this book although I wasn't sure what to make of it. It would probably help to be more familiar with the history of Spain in the early part of the 20th century. Was it a political book? A commentary on music? The pianist was not a sympathetic character, which probably downgraded the book's appeal to me. However, he was a complex character "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharry Miller | 2/5/2014

    " Andromeda's beautiful descriptions and characterizations carried me farther into this book than I might normally have gone. Somewhere in the middle I began to despair at its length and wondered where it was going and if it were ever going to end. A short while later, however, my interest was captured again and I willingly completed it. I think it's wonderful that a fellow Alaskan wrote such a beautiful book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 2/4/2014

    " I really enjoyed learning about Spanish history. A good read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 1/20/2014

    " I enjoyed this story of a musician surrounded by world events in and between wars in Spain and Europe. The character comes to several times in his life where he needs to make a choice. It did take me a while to read, but a very impressive well researched novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Callie | 1/16/2014

    " Good history of Spain (especially under Franco's rule) and Spanish music. Ties into the Holocaust. Interesting and fairly quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 1/16/2014

    " I wish I had remembered to comment on the book when I read it a few months ago. I remember it being very good and horribly sad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Ruebelmann | 1/5/2014

    " Wonderful, wonderful story by Alaskan author Andromeda Romano-Lax. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginna | 12/19/2013

    " Thoroughly researched and beautifully written. I sped through this book without noticing I was reading, except when I stopped to dog-ear a page or underline a phrase. I hope Romano-Lax will continue on the novelistic path, although I've also enjoyed her nonfiction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dee | 12/14/2013

    " Not the most interesting book. Based on Pablo Casals life....Spanish history...Franco....Hitler...Music, etc. She covers much and it drags in spots and is long. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 LorCon | 12/11/2013

    " A cellist witnesses historical events of the Spanish civil war and WWII. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheri | 12/3/2013

    " bargain ebook. A bit of a drag (depressing time period, pretty modern for "historical fiction") but well-written and worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 7/25/2013

    " I loved that it took place in Spain, was historical, musical, and very nicely written. Was a bit slow going in places. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ami | 6/24/2013

    " A well-written sweeping tale of music and Spain and dictators. Right up my alley. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Candace | 5/22/2013

    " I just couldn't get into this book and I've tried numerous times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacqui Robbins | 2/9/2013

    " This is a lovely, lovely book. Brief bloggy review in Jacqui's Room. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carissa | 12/1/2012

    " I was drawn in by the "crippled child becomes musical genius" aspect, and I love historical pieces. It's a little slow but still enjoying the read "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie Williams | 10/28/2012

    " Started strong but the ending caught sluggish and caught up in the politics. The plot didn't go where I'd hoped it would. But overall, pretty good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 6/22/2012

    " Excellent! Engaging, complicated, multi-dimensional characters, interesting historical setting during Spanish Civil War and WWII Europe and the musical elements all contributed to creating multiple layers of enjoyment in reading this novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl S. | 8/6/2011

    " Picked up this used book on a whim and ended up enjoying it very much. Well written, interesting characters and an unusual story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 5/13/2011

    " Good story that has really put me in the mood to listen to some cello music. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 kate | 5/11/2011

    " the beauty of the cello "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dee Green | 3/30/2011

    " The book started strong and I had a hard time putting it down, but then in the second half it suddenly got boring. All of a sudden I had a hard time picking it back up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 3/12/2011

    " Excellent! Engaging, complicated, multi-dimensional characters, interesting historical setting during Spanish Civil War and WWII Europe and the musical elements all contributed to creating multiple layers of enjoyment in reading this novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Valerie | 1/22/2011

    " This novel is loosely based on the life of cellist Pablo Casals. Great if you like music, cello, Spanish history. It examines the question of the role of an artist or anyone in the face of disasters, including the Spanish Civil War in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 1/9/2011

    " I enjoyed this book. It was historical fiction taking place in Spain in the first half of the 20th century. All about the role of art and music in society and morality. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eleftheria | 12/19/2010

    " It's supposed to be unputdownable, but honestly I felt it was dragging... Interesting idea but the main character was not likable. Good writing though... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Klst | 11/13/2010

    " I really enjoyed the story of this book, and though the history was quite complicated and took a bit of slogging at times it really did interest me in the time period. It reads as a fictional autobiography, and the story does get submerged a bit at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Grace | 5/5/2010

    " really fun book about a cellist but takes you through the Spanish Civil War and first and second world war. Explains the history well "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 LorCon | 2/23/2010

    " A cellist witnesses historical events of the Spanish civil war and WWII. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colette | 9/14/2009

    " This is a book about a child prodigy who lives in Spain during Franco's time. It takes him from birth until his retirement. It is warm, funny, poignant. I loved it. "

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About the Author

Andromeda Romano-Lax has been a journalist, a travel writer, and a serious amateur cellist. The Spanish Bow is her first novel. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her family.

About the Narrator

Paul Michael is an Audie Award-winning narrator. He has acted on stage, radio, television, and in feature films in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. He has had leading roles in series and made-for-television movies and has guest starred in such series as VIP and Alias. He has been nominated for a Canadian Emmy (or Nellie) and has recorded over 150 audiobooks, including the international bestseller The Da Vinci Code, winning more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards.