In Javier Cercas' previous novel, the affecting and widely honored "Soldiers of Salamis," a narrator named Javier Cercas chronicles his attempt to write a true story about a small episode in the Spanish Civil War. Through the recollections of an ensemble of Spaniards, Cercas returns to this episode often, wondering why a soldier of the Republic didn't report a Nationalist prisoner who had escaped from a mass execution. At the same time, a series of motifs recur, over and over, as if trying to attach themselves to some meaning about heroism or war or history, eventually finding it in Miralles, a veteran of many wars who transmutes what precedes him with an unexpected and heartbreaking coda.
Cercas' new novel, "The Speed of Light," follows a similar method of inquiry. An unnamed narrator chronicles his attempt to write a true story about Rodney Falk, a Vietnam War veteran he befriended as a young man at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read More
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Latin American Literature