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A Different Bond

I finished Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita last night, and it is really just superb. From beginning to end: there is nothing to disappoint you in the book. I simply cannot recommend it enough to you, so  if you haven't read this book, you should. Serious joy on a number of levels. I love it.

As is my habit with books, I am now reading something entirely different: Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, which includes Bondesque photo of Fleming on the inside jacket, swathed in smoke. Did you know that Fleming named his house in Jamaica, Goldeneye. I don't know much about the Fleming/Bond stuff, but picking up the book makes them feel like some kind of author fantasy, where Fleming lives out all the things he was unable to do in life (maybe he even did them, I have no idea). This dimension, with the retro cover, and the rumour I's heard that the Bond of the books is not quite like the Bond of the Franchise is why I'm reading the book.

"And then there was this pest of a girl. He [Bond] sighed. Women were for recreation. On a job, they got int he way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.

'Bitch,' said Bond, and then remembering the Muntzes, he said 'bitch' again more loudly and walked out of the room.
"

There's just something so deliciously sleazy about the book, really.

EDIT: And now there's this: "It turned out the Leiter was from Texas. While he talked on about his job with the Joint Intelligence Staff of NATO and then difficulty of maintaining security in an organization where so many nationalities were represented, Bond reflected that good Americans were fine people and that most of them seemed to come from Texas."

Oh, it was a different time then.

Comments

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(Anonymous)
Nov. 5th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
I think the Bond of the books is different from the Bond of the movies. I remember reading recently that Daniel Craig (the new Bond) said something to the effect that Bond was usually portrayed as a gentleman who's required to do thuggish things, whereas he's really a thug who learns how to act like a gentleman. I'll be interested to see how that works out in the new movie.
benpeek
Nov. 5th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC)
he is different to the movies--there isn't that sauveness that is there, and which is part of the movie charm (though i personally have never really dug bond films). i don't know that you'll ever be able to remove it from the flicks, tho.
speshal_k
Nov. 5th, 2006 09:40 am (UTC)
I've always prefered the Bond books to the Bond movies (though I always watch em anyway). And 'Casino Royale' is one of the best ones.

I'd def be interested in seeing a Bond movie that was more like the books, but I reckon the movies are really a brand unto themselves now. People will going in expecting something slick and a little cheesy and they might be disappointed if they get something grittier instead.
benpeek
Nov. 5th, 2006 09:45 am (UTC)
you reckon they're gritty, tho? i kind of find them--well, kinda slick, in that the writing is quick and simple.
speshal_k
Nov. 5th, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
i wasn't really thinking of the writing - more of contents. I'd say the Bond movies are slicker than the books because in them Bond is generally near invincible, he has 'slick' gadgets (which were NEVER in the books) and the women are pretty but otherwise superficial. Ian Fleming actually wrote a lot of damaged women - and his Bond was pretty damaged too. I've never seen a damaged Bond in a movie - first there was slick sixties Sean Connery, now they're really just generic action movies with a trademarked theme song.

I've seen one trailer for the new Casino Royale - there were heaps of explosions and chases going on, neither of which featured heavily in the book ( that I can remember - I haven't read it in aaages) so I'm expecting a pretty standard modern Bond movie, which is a little disappointing, although I have ot say the thing that's freaking me out most about the movie is that Daniel Craig is blond!!! ;-)
benpeek
Nov. 5th, 2006 12:02 pm (UTC)
i don't know about the interesting characters so far. really, it's not working for me in those ways, except to see bond's relationships to women. maybe the one in this book will prove to be interesting--i suspect she will have a little bit more to do witht he plot.

anyhow, i'll see. i'm almost done with it. i don't find it very gritty--kind of funny, actually.
ataxi
Nov. 5th, 2006 07:11 am (UTC)
The book of Dr No is insane - starts off with a discussion of the relative intrinsic evilness of various miscegenated races, concluding that "Chigroes" are the worst. Insane I tell you. Otherwise fairly similar to the bits you extracted above.
benpeek
Nov. 5th, 2006 09:43 am (UTC)
chigroes? jesus. i don't even want to know.

i'm a hundred pages into the book, and bond now wants to make the girl weep and beg for him. it's so sleazy. this is the kind of film that should be made.
ataxi
Nov. 5th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
I think it said something about Chigroes being the worst because they combined the native deviousness of the Chinaman with the thuggish brutality of the black, but it's been a while since I read it. The mind still boggles.
bodhichitta0
Nov. 5th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
The Master and Margarita sounds awesomely trippy.
benpeek
Nov. 6th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
it's very cool.
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