Friday, 5 June 2009

The Speed of Light

Title: The Speed of Light

Author: Javier Cercas

Number of pages: 278

Started: 1 June 2009

Finished: 5 June 2009

Opening words:

Now I lead a false life, an apocryphal, clandestine, invisible life, though truer than if it were real, but I was still me when I met Rodney Falk. It was a long time ago and it was in Urbana, a city in the Midwest of the United States where I spent two years at the end of the eighties. The truth is that every time I ask myself why I ended up precisely there I tell myself I ended up there just as I might have ended up anywhere else. Let me explain why instead of ending up anywhere else I ended up precisely there.

See a review and some further links here.

Plot summary:

An aspiring young writer from Spain begins work as a teaching assistant on a Midwestern campus and finds himself sharing an office with Rodney Falk, a taciturn Vietnam veteran of strange ways and few friends. But when Rodney suddenly disappears the narrator becomes obsessed with discovering the secrets of his past.

Why do people fear Rodney? What traumatic event happened at My Khe during the war? And, when the narrator’s life takes a terrible twist, is Rodney the only person in the world who can save him?

What I thought:

I enjoyed this book. It was dark in places, but also a fairly easy read. It wasn’t a particularly memorable book, but it was enjoyable while I read it. It did suffer from the same issue as another book I recently read – exceptionally long sentences. At times this affected the flow, but it did also help to emphasise the point at times. I would read another one of his books.

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