Monday, December 18, 2006

Book-A-Day #155 (12/18): Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but this is very typical for me: when there's a big, popular movie made from a book, I very often go and read the book.

In this case, I pulled Casino Royale down off the shelf to re-read it for the first time since I was about thirteen. (I'd bought it and Live and Let Die in the retro-looking Penguin reissue covers a couple of years ago, planning to keep buying the others as I read my way through the series -- well, that still might happen, I guess.)

Everything that everyone has ever said about James Bond and women (though it's probably actually Ian Fleming and women) is completely true, but it's also mostly beside the point: James Bond doesn't like men, either. He doesn't like humanity much, and I don't recall any indication he's much happier about other animals. He doesn't even particularly like himself, though he's not maudlin or whiny about it.

And this book hardly has any plot at all; Bond is captured and tortured a little more than half-way through (which is the end of the main plot). He then gets saved by somebody else and mopes around for fifty pages until the big revelation at the end. I remember Bond being a depressed, broken man in the last couple of books, but I'd forgotten that he started out that way, too.

Well, I might read more of these: they're short and pop-culturally important, and Bond is, despite everything, a fascinatingly prickly character. But I can't recommend them to any women who hope to keep their tooth enamel intact.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I remember Bong being a depressed, broken man in the last couple of books, but I'd forgotten that he started out that way, too."

... er.... what were you smoking?

Michael Walsh

Andrew Wheeler said...

Too bad Fleming didn't live a little longer...maybe the hippies could have gotten Bond to loosen up!

(typo fixed)

Michael A. Burstein said...

I picked up Casino Royale for the same reason; but I also picked up the two short story volumes. I wanted to re-read "The Living Daylights," which I think of as one of the best pieces of Bond fiction Fleming ever wrote.

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