For the last week or so I've been blogging about the Japanese disasters on my site H5N1. Believe me: No one has come up a disaster novel that remotely approaches the reality of March 11 and the days since then.
But I've managed to find time to read John Le Carré's latest novel, Our Kind of Traitor. It's notable in several ways.
First, as a mere stripling of 70, I'm impressed to find Le Carré at 80 still turning out the brilliant, literate and complex fiction he began writing almost 50 years ago.
It's a hell of a suspenseful story, made so by the concreteness of his settings and the vivid believability of his characters. One of Le Carré's great talents is to show us highly intelligent people and make us believe in their intelligence. It's so much a page-turner that I had to put it down at times just to give myself a break.
But it is also a technical tour de force. In the first third of the novel especially, he plays with narrative sequence and point of view in ways I wouldn't dare to (assuming I had the imagination and chutzpah to think of telling a story in such a way).
I suggest you read it once for (scary) fun; then go back and re-read it for multiple instant replays, so you can try to figure out how the hell he did it.