The Speed of Light

The Speed of Light

by Elizabeth Rosner
4.2 7

Paperback(First Paperback Edition)

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The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner

Every family has a story. Every story, eventually, must be told.

For most of their lives, Julian Perel and his sister, Paula, lived in a house cast in silence, witnesses to a father struggling with a devastating secret too painful to share. Though their father took his demons to the grave, his past refuses to rest.

As adults, brother and sister struggle to find their voices. A scientist governed by numbers and logic, Julian now lives an ordered life of routine and seclusion. My father gave up his language and his homeland. But he carried his sadness with him, under his skin. It was mine now. In contrast, Paula has entered the world as eagerly as Julian retracts from it. An aspiring opera singer, she is always moving, buoyant with sound. Singing was the only gift I could offer to my father. I filled the house with music. I tried to give him joy. . . .

Yet both their lives begin to change on a Wednesday, miercoles, the day that sounds like miracles. Before embarking on a European opera tour, Paula asks her housekeeper, Sola, to stay at her place—and to look after Julian in the apartment above. Yet Sola, too, has a story. I want to clean myself like the window of a house, make myself clear for things to pass through. Flat and quiet.

As Paula uncovers pieces of her father's early life in Budapest and the horrifying truth of his past, Julian bears witness to Sola's story—revelations that help all three learn how to both surrender and revere the shadows that have followed them for so long.

The Speed of Light is a powerful debut about three unforgettable souls who overcome the tragedies of the past to reconnect with one another and the world around them. In an extraordinary accomplishment, Elizabeth Rosner has created a novel of love and redemption that proves the pain of the untold story is far greater than even the most difficult truth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345442253
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/01/2003
Edition description: First Paperback Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 859,877
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Rosner is a graduate of Stanford University and received a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of California at Irvine. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry East, Southern Poetry Review, and Another Chicago Magazine, among other publications. She lives in Berkeley, California.

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Speed of Light 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rosner's beautiful tale of loneliness and the inevitable connection we have to others and the past is one that deserves attention. Her prose is almost too wonderfully poetic to be called prose. There is not only one story here, there are three; and then, really, there are many more. This is one of the most affecting novels I have read in a while. It has a subtle way of sneaking into your bedtime thoughts and daydreams. It will sit on your desk or coffeetable, softly calling to you like the wind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For me, reading The Speed of Light was like stepping into a nightmare that is transformed into a meaningful dream. The language of poetry interwoven with scientific facts gently carries the reader forward and backward, all the while in a vehicle that feels very familiar and personal. Liz Rosner's poetry, written long before this novel, holds the same mystique. Perhaps when one has chosen stories so steeped in trauma it is almost mandatory to soften the path to the darkness with the delicacy of poetic words and images. The Speed of Light will live on in the heart of anyone who reads it in much the same way as the inherited stories must live on in the present lives of each character. Cynthia Brody editor, Bittersweet Legacy - Creative Responses to the Holocaust
Guest More than 1 year ago
An incredible first novel. A story told in three voices -- each voice filled with emotion and character. Rosner captures the essence of her characters and the story line is powerful. This book is lyrical.
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