The original title of The Detour perhaps better describes the content of the novel, but if not for the change to The Art Lover, it wouldn’t have attracted my attention.
Most of my book purchases around that time were art related, mainly non-fiction, but I’d also bought the few novels I’d seen about art and artists. The Australian title of this book suggested it would fit into that category but it didn’t fulfil those expectations.
But honestly, I don’t care! I loved it.
Ernst Vogler is given the responsibility of travelling to Rome to oversee the transport of a famous marble statue back to Germany in the early stages of Hitler’s programme to “collect” Europe’s most prestigious art works. What should have been a straight forward exercise becomes increasingly problem-laden from the very start of Vogler’s journey.
Can he meet the deadline and deliver the statue to the German border on time?
The novel looks at three distinct stages of Vogler’s life. It starts and ends in 1948 telling most of the story in a flashback to events ten years earlier. Along the way we also see incidents from his childhood that set him on the path leading to Rome and his life-changing journey, through Italy
What more can I say without revealing too much and robbing potential readers of the joy of discovering the story for themselves? Maybe just a few isolated words to give a taste?
Family. Fear. Joy. Tragedy. Love. Pain. Guilt. Freedom. Possibility.
A wonderful book, many layered but not over-complex; my only “criticism”? I was disappointed when it ended – I wanted to read more and could have lived with the book for much longer.
see the author’s blog here: http://romanolax.wordpress.com/