The Detour

February 25, 2012

The Detour
By: Andromeda Romano-Lax
304 Pages

Ernst Vogler is twenty-six years old in 1938 when he is sent to Rome by his employer—the Third Reich's Sonderprojekte, which is collecting the great art of Europe and bringing it to Germany for the F├╝hrer. Vogler is to collect a famous Classical Roman marble statue, The Discus Thrower, and get it to the German border, where it will be turned over to Gestapo custody. It is a simple, three-day job.
Things start to go wrong almost immediately. The Italian twin brothers who have been hired to escort Vogler to the border seem to have priorities besides the task at hand—wild romances, perhaps even criminal jobs on the side—and Vogler quickly loses control of the assignment. The twins set off on a dangerous detour and Vogler realizes he will be lucky to escape this venture with his life, let alone his job. With nothing left to lose, the young German gives himself up to the Italian adventure, to the surprising love and inevitable losses along the way.

I had such high hopes for this book upon starting it. The time period, the subject matter, how could it not be a page-turner?! Well, I was sadly mistaken. So mistaken, in fact, that I couldn't finish the book. I got half way through and could go no further.

To me, the plot was too slow-moving and uneventful. I was not able to get interested in Ernst Vogler's strained relationship with his father. The journey that is the subject of the book wasn't able to suck me in, either. What I read of it was dull and uneventful.

I am always saddened when I don't like a book. Not being able to finish a book is worse for me because I run the risk of missing out on the good stuff. However, if you aren't able to grab me and keep me within the first half of the book, I no longer care how it all ends.


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