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Winner, sunburst award for excellence in canadian literature of the fantastic
finalist, neukom prize for speculative fiction
a book riot best book of 2018
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In a tour-de-force tapestry of science fiction and historical fiction, Andromeda Romano-Lax presents a story set in Japan and Taiwan that spans a century of empire, conquest, progress and destruction.
 
2029: In Japan, a historically mono-cultural nation, childbirth rates are at an all-time low and the elderly are living increasingly longer lives. This population crisis has precipitated the mass immigration of foreign medical workers from all over Asia, as well as the development of finely tuned artificial intelligence to step in where humans fall short.

In Tokyo, Angelica Navarro, a Filipina nurse works as caretaker for Sayoko Itou, a moody, secretive woman about to turn 100 years old. When Sayoko receives a cutting-edge robot “friend” that will teach itself to anticipate Sayoko’s every need, Angelica fears for her livelihood. But more than a mere job is at stake, especially given the robot's preternatural ability to uncover the most deeply buried secrets of the humans around it. 


PLUM RAINS is a hundred-year saga of forbidden love, hidden identities, the legacy of colonialism and the future of our relationships in a distracted and uncertain world.  

Book Riot

The secrets we keep and the prejudices we navigate rise to the surface of Andromeda Romano-Lax’s lovely, heartrending near-future novel. 

Strange Horizons

The writing is so subtle, so effortless, that your heart doesn't break so much as quietly dissolve into tears.

Kirkus

 

 

A well-written, entertaining novel that both enacts and subverts the tropes of android fiction.

Paris Review

the world that Romano-Lax engineers is a character in itself, impossibly complex and daunting in its believability.

Publishers Weekly

Romano-Lax proves herself a gifted writer... A story of human connection and finding joy after trauma.

The Straits Times

a blistering social commentary of what the not-so-distant future of the world's fastest-ageing society will look like—told with quiet contemplation and a lot of heart.​

Booklist 

profoundly inquisitive and compelling ... Romano-Lax sets timeless human dilemmas involving love, racism, misogyny, violence, grief, and dissent against environmental decimation, the daunting ethical questions raised by burgeoning AI, and consideration of the very future of humanity itself.

Japan Times

 

 

 

Ambitious and zeitgeisty...entertaining, provocative and eerily plausible.

Sunburst Award Committee

 

A masterpiece . . . This brilliant, character-driven novel examines individual reactions to threats to survival and autonomy . . . all too relevant to our present-day world.

Foreword Reviews 

Romano-Lax’s latest novel is a gift. Through its beauty and devastation, its speculation and its certainty, it will force audiences to confront the truest places within themselves—the spaces where artifice will never suffice.

 

In 1919, when she graduated from Vassar College with a degree in psychology, Rosalie Rayner took a coveted position at the Johns Hopkins research lab to assist charismatic John B. Watson, the man who pioneered behaviorist psychology. Together, Watson and Rayner conducted experiments on hundreds of babies to prove behaviorist principles of nurture over nature, including the controversial "Little Albert" study, in which they fear-conditioned an infant. Watson and Rayner also embarked on a scandalous affair that cost them their jobs and forever changed the trajectory of both pioneering psychologists' lives.

 

Both moving and occasionally disturbing, BEHAVE is a thought-provoking and compelling novel about science, progress, love, and the meaning of motherhood during the turbulent 1920s and '30s.

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AN APRIL 2016 INDIE NEXT PICK
AN AMAZON BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH
PEOPLE MAGAZINE PICK: "RIVETING"

Publishers Weekly

Scorching... By detailing how the study of human behavior differs from understanding people, and how smart women can miss the obvious and make mistakes, Romano-Lax sheds a harsh yet deeply moving light on feminism and psychology

 

(starred)

Boston Globe

shocking and thought-provoking

Library Journal

Fascinating... Romano-Lax writes compellingly about science and the Jazz Age

Psychology Today

an engaging read which will not only entertain you but also teach you a great deal about these giants in the history of psychology, and the ethics of those times which we now see as abhorrent 

BookPage

a page-turning exploration of a complicated relationship, full of themes that will resonate with modern readers—the enduring debate of nature vs. nurture, as well as the eternal struggle women face to balance family life and career opportunities

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Kirkus 

Rayner finally has the spotlight in this compelling fictional memoir

New York Times Book Review

 

Rayner could not have found it easy to be exiled from the lab, or to raise her sons according to a behaviorist program, which regards 'mother love,' as the real Rayner put it, as 'an instrument which may inflict a never-healing wound.' This novel suggests the pain of wanting, and failing, to behave.

From history of behaviorism scholars

A fabulous novel that brings Rosalie Rayner to life, allowing us to sympathize with someone caught in the whirlwind of her times, as well as John Watson, a man cursed, condemned to forever run from his own emotions. Ms. Romano-Lax’s novel commendably sticks close to the available facts. Behave invites us to explore a lifetime of questions about science, ethics, motherhood, sexual attraction, and love.”
 

—Hall P. Beck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University and author of Finding Little Albert

Of interest to anyone curious about Watson and the history of psychology. Andromeda Romano-Lax does well to place John B. Watson in the context of the conflict between eugenics and environmentalism, consciousness versus behaviorism, and the rise of advertising and consumer culture. She draws the reader in with details such as the nature of fear-based ad campaigns. She teaches behaviorism and does it well.


—Ben Harris, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of New Hampshire

 
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Set in 1938 Italy and Munich, The Detour enlarges upon themes introduced in Andromeda’s debut novel, including questions about the role of art – and the promise of love – in wartime.

 

Young art curator Ernst Vogler travels to Italy on what is supposed to be a brief assignment: escorting the famous Discus Thrower statue to Munich, where it has been purchased, controversially, by the German government. But from the first morning, when Vogler arrives at the museum too late to write his initial report, to a change in plans that requires transporting the ancient statue by road instead of by train, everything goes wrong. Traveling for five days across Italy, Vogler will try to fulfill his mission, confront demons in his own past, and discover – perhaps too late – lessons in friendship and passion. Set in 1938 and inspired by a historical event, the controversial sale of a real statue to Nazi Germany, one of the first steps in what became a seven-year  looting campaign of the greatest art objects of Europe, The Detour is a novel about classical art and pre-World War II politics. It is also an exploration of the boundaries between loyalty and love, rigidity and spontaneity, stone and life.

Library Journal

Romano-Lax is singularly gifted: she creates full-fledged, engaging characters and writes compelling narrative. Some of her descriptive passages take your breath away. The author’s The Spanish Bow was a hit. This novel will make a splash, too, for the same reasons.

Foreword

The ethical issues of the book are thought provoking, contrasting the artistic perfection of classical sculpture with basic human values. Ultimately, the sculpture itself provides the answer. 

The Washington Independent Review of Books

Ernst’s story is an engrossing one. It also serves as a means by which the author demonstrates the insidious role of Nazi culture in ordinary lives… A very satisfying novel.   

San Antonio Express News

The Detour is a gem, combining a fascinating storyline about art acquisition in Hitler’s Germany, an entrancing setting darkened by impending war, rich symbolism and engaging characters.

Jewish Book Council

Romano-Lax creates an atmosphere of slow-building suspense, and her skill as a writer is irrefutable. 

PaRt romance and part mystery, this piece of historical fiction sheds light on an infrequently explored aspect of the Third Reich.

Booklist

Romano-Lax’s delicately atmospheric journey of discovery is, of course, a metaphor for life ... A gently haunting work of subtle and surprising wisdom.

Historical Novels Review

Romano-Lax has taken a snippet from history, Hitler’s controversial pre-war acquisition of The Discus Thrower, and cast it in a classic road trip story, where the journey is more about self-discovery than maps and routes. Romano-Lax paints a glorious landscape of northern Italy, with sunsets and winding vineyards that pull the reader in as much as the characters. Thoroughly recommended. 

Library Journal

Nicely paced, brisk with dialog, and lyric at the right moment, this would be great for book clubs

Andromeda’s debut novel, The Spanish Bow (Harcourt, 2007): an epic novel about the clash of artistic ideals and 20th-century European politics, inspired by a love for Spain and classical music.

 

“I was almost born Happy.” So begins The Spanish Bow and the remarkable history of Feliu Delargo, who just misses being named “Feliz” by a misunderstanding at his birth, which he barely survives. The accidental bequest of a cello bow from his dead father sets Feliu on the course of becoming a musician, unlikely given his beginnings in a dusty village in Catalonia. When he is compelled to flee to anarchist Barcelona, his education in music, life, love, and politics begins.

The Spanish Bow is a haunting fugue of music, politics, and passion set against half a century of Spanish history, from the tail end of the nineteenth century up through the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Inspired by the life of Pablo Casals and with appearances by Pablo Picasso, Bertolt Brecht, and others who wrestled with the competing demands of art and conscience, The Spanish Bow is a deeply imagined tale of the passions that accident bestows– and the sacrifices history exacts.

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Translated into 11 languages
A new york times editors' choice
One of the Best Books of 2007, library journal

Booksense Pick September 2007 and Highlight of 2007

New York Times Book Review

An impressive and richly atmospheric debut.

Historical Novels Review

 

 

Can art save us from ourselves? In her elegant debut, Romano-Lax ponders this timeless question through the ambitious tale of Feliu Delargo, a gifted cellist born in turn-of-the-century Spain. 

 

 

 

 

 

Publishers Weekly

for sheer scope and ambition, this is a tough debut to beat.
 

Christian Science Monitor

Expertly woven throughout the book are cameo appearances by Pablo Picasso, Adolf Hitler, Francisco Franco, Bertolt Brecht, and others, but it is the fictional Feliu, Justo, and Aviva who will keep you mesmerized to the last page 

BookList

This riveting historical page-turner moves inexorably toward a heartrending crescendo.

BookPage

 

Extraordinary, gripping … Encounters with actual world players, like Picasso, Adolf Hitler, Franco, Kurt Weill and others, constitute a feature of this many-favored book. Another is the author’s obvious love for Spain and its colorful cities.

Times Literary Supplement 

(London)

 

Epic in scale it is full of richly detailed tableaux of Catalonian peasant life, bohemian Barcelona, the chaos of the Second Republic, and the rise of Francoist fascism…The Spanish Bow…excels as a portrait of a country at a painful moment in its evolution.

Financial Times

Ambitious ... brilliant ...

an excellent

story.