F.R.'s Reviews > Goldfinger

Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
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Jul 19, 09

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Ben Schott's introduction to my edition tells of the muted critical reception this book received. Indeed it was the novel that prompted Paul Johnson's famous description: "Sex, Snobbery and Sadism". But to be honest, I don't think the three S's are more priminent in this book than in the previous adventures of J. Bond esq. In fact I greeted them like old and welcome friends. What bothered me about this book is just how ridiculous it is.

It's said the film adapatation of Goldfinger was the movie that sent the series down the outre, larger than life path it made its own for so many years. It is a close version of the book, so we do have Auric Goldfinger to thank for thirty years of over the top "Meester Bond!" villians. But to be fair, the script of the film does a better job of explaining some of the more bizare elements of the story - for example why Goldfinger keeps Bond alive in Switzerland, and Pussy Galore's sudden switch to Bond's side (in both senses). I try not to go to far down the comparison route, but reading this made me realise how smart the film actually is.

Fleming's vintage and his old school tie show up in the book's views of tea, women and - most notoriously - Koreans. And despite the attempts to make Bond more human (his ruminations about killing) those are the things you're more likely to remember. But that doesn't matter anymore, as this is a roller-coaster ride that just happens to have James Bond strapped in next to you. It's best to enjoy the thrills and try not to think how silly it all is.
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