Becky's Reviews > The Speed of Light

The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner
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Feb 13, 12

bookshelves: six-stars
Read from January 17 to February 13, 2012

It's like that moment after everything has broken and fallen apart and will never be okay again, and then out of the silence comes an unspeakably beautiful birdsong, hollow and sorrowful and triumphant, and everything ceases to exist outside the song.

Actually, it's almost exactly like that, except not at all cliched. If you started with that image, and wanted to write a story around it, and were an incredibly gifted poet who decided to turn your gifts to novel-writing, this is the book you would come up with.

I loved this book so much. What an elegant, graceful story of survivors and witnesses learning to battle their demons. There are three alternating narrators who present us their lives in vignettes. The author, as I said, is a poet, and I think one of the most remarkable gifts she brings to this story is her ability to gracefully bring this very reflective, introspective story into the extrinsic. The characters are all rooted in very concrete things that wind up intertwining with their journeys. Music. Science. Vegetables. So rich in metaphor, and an absolutely perfect structure for exploring the story. I loved, for instance, how while some characters struggled to find their voices, one was an opera singer--though she has never understood what it is to need to share a story (yet).

This book reaches into some very dark chapters of human history, but as you as the reader explore them you will still feel like you are sitting in that chair on the cover, bathed in golden light, listening to a Bach cello suite. Or a spinto rendition of Ave Maria.

I took my time finishing this book because I couldn't stand for it to be over. I'm saving the extra end material for tomorrow. Really, read it. Let me put this book in your hands.
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