I was late opening today 'cos I was up half the night reading Tree Of Smoke.
This novel should cause the equivalent of the Northern-Rock-engulfing financial crisis in literary circles when it hits these shores.
90% of people writing novels should hang up their pens, throw the Word Processor out the window and take up shovelling poo after reading this - it just blows most of contemporary literature out of the way, like so much fluff...
(Those of you that know me will be able to take that last sentence with the required pinches of salt - don't want to be responsible for mass author death! Just excited...)
"We're on the cutting edge of reality itself. Right where it turns into a dream." (This from a CIA man - sound familiar?)
One might hypothesize a step beyond the final one. Consider the possibility that a coterie or insulated group might elect to create fictions independent of the leadership's intuition of its own needs. And might serve these fictions to the enemy in order to influence choices. (During a CIA discussion of the problems of intelligence being polluted by political influence)
Above them paddies terraced the hillside. They moved along the dikes and trudged generally upward.
From nowhere came the racket of gunfire, bullets jerking the small shoots and chirping in the water.
They raced without speaking over the dikes and flopped on the dry side and crawled along until they found a gully and dropped into it and scrambled away from whoever was trying to kill them.
"You don't understand," Nash said. "I'm not ready for this at all. I only been here three days!"
"I just took a second tour," James said. "I don't know which one of us is the stupider shit."
They passed burning hooches and empty hamlets and never saw any people. By their complete absence they seemed to suggest themselves vividly. But there was activity ahead. They heard shooting. At one point they heard a voice crying in a foreign language. They came on a hamlet whose dwellers had just cleared out minutes ago. They'd even left an animal picketed in a garden, a goat with his neck stuck out as if offering it to the axe, but he was only shitting. Right in the middle of a war.
The three soldiers climbed on toward the peak.