The young hero of The Speed of Light is an aspiring writer in provincial Spain in the 1980s, dreaming of burning success, searching for a real story to tell. Out of the blue he is offered the chance to work in a in a Midwestern university and soon he is in the United States, living a happy, carefree life, working and writing. Little does he know that his burgeoning friendship with the Vietnam Vet Rodney Falk, a man of few friends and strange ways, will influence the course of his entire life, or that he will become obsessed with unravelling the mystery at the heart of Rodney's life. Why do people sometimes ridicule and sometimes fear Rodney? Why does he shun the world? Why does he accept and befriend the narrator? What really happened at My Khe? When the young writer's own life takes a terrible twist many years later, Rodney may be the only person in the world who can save him.
Javier Cercas is the author of Soldiers of Salamis (Spain, 2001, Bloomsbury, 2003), The Tenant & The Motive (Spain 2000, 2003, Bloomsbury UK, 2005) El Vientre de la ballena (The Belly of the Whale, 1997) and Relatos Reales (True Tales, 2000). He has taught at the University of Illinois and since 1989 has been a lecturer in Spanish literature at the University of Gerona. Anne McLean has translated Latin American and Spanish novels, short stories, memoirs and other writings by writers including Carmen Martin Gaite, Orlando Gonzalez, Julio Cortazar and Tomas Eloy Martinez . Soldiers of Salamis was a huge international success, selling over 1 million copies worldwide, being translated into over 20 languages and winning Cercas and Anne McLean the Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction in the UK.