This Page

has moved to a new address:


Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
A Reader of Fictions: Philosophia - The Guggenheim Grotto

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Philosophia - The Guggenheim Grotto

The Detour

Author: Andromeda Romano-Lax
Pages: 304
ARC Acquired from: Soho Press via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Ernst Vogler worked for the Nazi Party. He was responsible for helping the country acquire great works of art. He stumbled into this job through happenstance, a misunderstanding of his actions years before. Still, he loved art, which helped him forget the pain in his past. His main goal was to avoid notice, to do his work, and to not question. In 1938, he was sent to Italy on a simple mission: to pick up and return with The Discus Thrower, which Germany purchased from Italy. Of course, this mission was not without complications, which included betrayal, romance and a slight detour.

The setting of this book is incredibly interesting to the historian in me. The focus of this historical fiction novel is on WWII Germany, but on a part not usually covered. Hitler wanted to be a painter. However, his landscapes were not deemed especially good, especially with modern art on the rise. Thus, the back-up plan was blame everyone else for his failures and take over the world so people would think he was the best. (Note: I may be simplifying things.)

Using his power, Hitler set out to squelch modern art, calling it degenerate art. Much was burned. Hitler also set out to acquire famous antique works of art, like The Discus Thrower. These pieces served as status symbols, but may also truly have been Hitler's favorites. Anyway, Hitler's touch in this story is largely as art collector.

Unfortunately, I did not much enjoy the actual story. It was okay, but it was in no way outstanding. The problem I think was in Ernst, and in the way Romano-Lax decided to tell the story. Ernst never coalesced into a person with a personality for me. He was a person of a couple of interests and with some serious lingering issues from childhood. These facts just didn't add up to a person.

Also, even when he 'fell in love' or watched someone die, the feelings never came through the writing. I suspect that this has to do with the way the story is told. Romano-Lax decided to use a frame of Ernst as an old man, going back to Italy. The rest of the tale is Ernst remembering what happened there all of those years ago. These parts are told in the past tense, and the audience is warned early on that his memory is not to be trusted. All of this just served to make a big disconnect between me as a reader and the character's experience.

Rating: 2.5/5

"Upon the thoughts of better men than us we swear by and decree a
Perfect way to end the war of ways the only way to be a

Work of art, oh to be a work of art"

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Every comment is appreciated and I will almost always respond, because I love conversing about books!

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home