This is John Banville's cerebral, psychological exploration of the character of Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, Poussin expert and Soviet spy. I'm about a third of the way through this novel and as always in thrall to Banville's writing and acute analysis of his characters' states of mind.
May I sound like a fortune-teller? A much-awaited return to Canada is mooted, but not in circumstances predicted. More later ... and who would have thought an essential part of the carry-on baggage of a thirty-something snowboarding instructor is two Terabytes of USB hard disk capacity?
Immortality is getting harder. Think of all the educated people of the world (at a particular time) filling a circular stadium. In one direction we rank the mathematicians, in another the novelists, in a third the singers and musicians, and so on. The best of the best are out on the periphery and only one or two people per generation - those on the extreme circumference - will be destined for cultural immortality.
The ratio of circumference to area is inversely proportional to the population of the stadium: generations pass, civilization expands and the competition gets ever more severe; immortality gets harder. (I feel I'm channelling Banville's hero Victor Maskell here ..).