I’m always inspired to see the many ways authors add subtext and metaphor to their stories. As I read, I like to analyze the way an author creates a page-turning story so that I can learn how to apply those techniques to my work.
In The Speed of Light, Elizabeth Rosner uses a structural element to add meaning to the story. In the novel, brother and sister Julian and Paula Perel strive to find their voices in a home where their father struggles with devastating memories as a Holocaust survivor.
A scientist who exists by numbers and routines, Julian lives an isolated life. As Julian retreats from life, Paula throws herself into the world through her study as an opera singer. Both of them change when Paula asks her housekeeper Sola, who has struggles and a devastating past of her own, to stay at Paula’s apartment and look out for Julian in the apartment above while Paula travels.
Rosner tells the story in the alternating voices of the three protagonists. Then throughout the book, she threads scientific definitions written by Julian that reveal his character and create additional depth. The definitions leave readers with another way to interpret and experience the novel. Read more