Carmen's Reviews > Goldfinger

Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
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bookshelves: fiction, mystery, traditionally-published, he-says, published1959
Read 5 times. Last read January 4, 2015 to January 7, 2015.

It was going to be fun playing hare and hounds across Europe. The sun was shining out of a clear sky. Bond felt a moment's sharp thrill down his spine. He smiled to himself, a hard, cold, cruel smile. Goldfinger, he thought, for the first time in your life you're in trouble - bad trouble.

Bond is drinking bourbon in the Miami airport and philosophizing about life and death. He has just neatly taken care of heroin distribution ring. You may think of Bond as a cold, hard killer – but actually in the books he is very philosophical and is always thinking about life, death, and his place in the world.

Bond's flight is delayed and he's approached by a rich American named Du Pont, a small character from Casino Royale. This character is having a spot of trouble and Bond agrees to help him. It appears Du Pont, a millionaire, is being cheated at cards by a strange fellow named Auric Goldfinger. Du Pont can't figure out how Goldfinger is cheating him and tells Bond he'll give him $10,000 for solving the mystery. Bond, bored with his 'rough work' and in need of a break, agrees.

Goldfinger is, of course, a cheat. And Bond busts his game wide open and obtains proof, $10,000, and a gorgeous young woman named Jill Masterton who has been helping Goldfinger fleece people. Unfortunately for Bond, Goldfinger is involved in much more serious criminal activity than cheating at cards. And he loves revenge almost as much as he loves gold.


This book is a fascinating Bond book on many levels.


OFFENSIVE
Let's get the offensiveness out of the way first. This book is very offensive. It is derogatory towards the following: Mexicans, Jews, blacks, Koreans, lesbians, people with a cleft palate, gay men, feminists, Americans who live in the South... I think that's it.

The really offensive stuff is poured on Koreans and lesbians. Fleming just does not stop with his comments about these two groups. The book lets us know that:

Koreans have no respect for human life.

[Retired policemen] have a respect for human life. That is no good if I wish to stay alive. The Koreans have no such feelings. That is why the Japanese employed them as guards for their prison camps during the war. They are the cruelest, most ruthless people in the world.

Koreans enjoy eating cats.

“I am tired of seeing this animal around. You may have it for dinner.” The Korean's eyes gleamed.

Koreans enjoy hurting/raping/killing white women.

“The women are not much to look at, but they are white and that is all the Koreans ask – to submit the white race to the grossest indignities. There are sometimes accidents...”

Koreans are less than human.

...Bond intended to stay alive on his own terms. Those terms included putting Oddjob and any other Korean firmly in his place, which, in Bond's estimation, was rather lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy.

You can find tons more – those are just the highlights.

Fleming also exhibits some rather bizarre ideas about lesbians and homosexuality in general. For instance, he blames women's lib for homosexuality in general. He's also confused about what a “lesbian” really is. Allow me to illustrate:

Bond came to the conclusion that [she] was one of those girls whose hormones had got mixed up. He knew the type well and thought they and their male counterparts were a direct consequence of giving votes to women and 'sex equality'. As a result of fifty years of emancipation, feminine qualities were dying out or being transferred to the males. Pansies of both sexes were everywhere, not yet completely homosexual, but confused, not knowing what they were. The result was a herd of unhappy sexual misfits – barren and full of frustrations, the women wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied. He was sorry for them, but he had no time for them.

Wow. I honestly was laughing so hard during this passage I thought I was going to choke. You could say, “Carmen, how could you possibly be laughing at this? You are a strong feminist.” Well, I'll tell you why: it's just so absurd. It's just so ridiculous that anyone ever thought this way that it cracks me up. Oh, gosh. Poor, confused Ian Fleming, you still had so much to learn about life.

And this is why I say Fleming doesn't understand what the word “lesbian” means: One of the allegedly lesbian characters ends up in bed with James Bond. When he says, They told me you only liked women. She said, “I never met a man before. Get that!??? Lesbians are only lesbians because they haven't met a “real man” who can put it down in bed for them. I couldn't help laughing hysterically at this thought, either. I have quite a few lesbian friends and it cracks me up that Ian Fleming really believes this. Too pathetic.

But wait – it gets worse. And this part I'm NOT laughing at, at all. The part where Fleming tells us that lesbians are created when girls or teenagers are raped. He believes being a lesbian is a defense mechanism in response to rape at a young age. (view spoiler) Yeah, that's realistic. *rolls eyes* I never laugh about rape and am unable to find any humor in this misconception of Fleming's.

Okay, let's get off the topic of “James Bond books are very offensive” and instead get to the fun!


VILLAIN
Auric Goldfinger is a rather underdeveloped character. Bond is convinced that he is an evil criminal because he is a short and ugly man. Bond believes he can psychoanalyze every villain. I never agree with him, actually.

The only thing Goldfinger is really good for is making villain speeches. He is great at this. There are two very notable ones (although he gives about 6 or 7 villain speeches throughout the course of the novel). One is on his love for gold. It's creepy and you really see how gold is everything to him and how obsessed with it he is. The other notable villain speech is when he's lecturing Bond about how there have been no great criminals (until now!) and how he, Goldfinger, is the best and most original of all criminals, blah blah blah, you know how these criminal egomaniacs can never shut up about themselves. Bond seems to sit patiently and listen to every single speech, and I feel sorry for that long-suffering man. If I was with Goldfinger I would tell him to put a sock in it already. Jeez Louise, the man never shuts up. It's very fitting to the book, though, and really adds to the “James Bond-ness” of the whole thing.

I don't believe anything about Goldfinger's working for SMERSH. I just don't believe it. With his amazing love of gold and his insatiable greed, it's very strange to me that he's donating incredible amounts of money to the evil Russian organization. It doesn't make any sense. Bond figures he's after an Order of Lenin, but I'm just not buying it. It makes no sense and doesn't fit in with his motives and personality at all. I was scratching my head at this one. Especially since he was a refugee from Riga, a Balt who was fleeing the Russians as they swallowed his country up. It makes zero sense.

Oddjob is another villain in this book that I believe deserves a mention. This huge Korean man is built like a tank. Ian Fleming also gives him a cleft palate, which serves to further enslave him to Goldfinger, who is the only man who can understand what he's saying. He enjoys eating cats. He smells like a zoo. He is famous, of course, especially for his bowler hat which is lined with metal and he throws it at people to kill them. (view spoiler) But, Oddjob has no background or personality. We get no indication that he has any intelligence higher than a dog – (this is exactly how Bond describes him, by the way.) Bond doesn't ever acknowledge Oddjob as a human, instead comparing him to various animals throughout the book and treating him as such.

JAMES BOND IS SHOWS MERCY AND GIVES HIS PROTECTION
One thing I really enjoyed about this book is how merciful Bond is. First of all, in the opening pages, Bond shows mercy on one of the men in the heroin ring. He could have easily killed this man or let him been arrested. Instead, he calls the man on the phone, disguises his voice, and warns him to quit the ring and quit dealing in heroin. He feels the man is basically a good man who just got caught up in something evil. My heart always melts when Bond is kind like this. It's not very frequent, especially towards a man.

The other shows of mercy and protection pertain to attractive young women. Bond shocked and amazed me with his treatment of Jill Masterton. Bond is bringing down Goldfinger for cheating at cards in the first part of the book. Now, from the minute Bond enters the room where Jill is helping Goldfinger cheat people, she's already dead. There's no way Goldfinger would forgive any kind of betrayal or even the fact that Bond is emasculating him in front of a woman (who's not even sleeping with him, by the way, only letting people think that she is. I was very worried about her. She is worried herself! She begs Bond not to expose Goldfinger.

Suddenly she reached out and put a hand on his sleeve. There was a Claddagh ring on her middle finger – two gold hands clasped around a gold heart. There were tears in her voice. “Must you? Can't you leave him alone? I don't know what he'll do to me. Please.” She hesitated. She was blushing furiously. “And I like you. It's a long time since I've seen someone like you. Couldn't you just stay here for a little more?” She looked down at the ground. “If only you'd leave him alone I'd do -” the words came out in a rush - “I'd do anything.
Bond smiled.


No wonder men like these books so much.

(Well, now I know where Frank Miller got his inspirations for females in distress begging for mercy and offering their bodies up as payment for protection. o.O I seriously was plunged right back into SIN CITY and Miller's insane masturbatory fantasies.)

And I'm thinking, “Bond, you bastard.” And then he turns her down and says he must do the job – he's getting paid, and also Goldfinger is a horrible person who needs to be punished. And now I'm convinced that Bond is a real bastard because anyone could see that the woman is fried. “Have you no mercy, Bond?” I asked. I thought he was going to leave her to the wolves, I honestly did. Then he surprises me and melts my heart by taking Jill “as his hostage” and getting her out of Goldfinger's clutches. I was cheering. :)

He does even more – not only is she safe, far away from Goldfinger's clutches (view spoiler), but Bond gives her the $10,000 instead of keeping it for himself. He's worried about her and he really doesn't want her to go back to her job with Goldfinger. This way, she has the funds and means to escape and start a new life for herself.

Some people would, “Say 'Oh, this just is Bond making her into a whore.'” I completely disagree. Yes, the payment happens after they just spent 24 hours together in bed, but that's not why she did it, and it's certainly not why Bond is paying her. He's really worried about her safety. There's nothing 'dirty' or wrong in what happens between Jill and Bond and I was very happy and satisfied with the way he treated her. He went above and beyond his call of duty, I feel (in more ways than one, see WOMEN). I thought this whole relationship was charming and sweet. That's two mercies, plus the man one.

Another mercy - (view spoiler).

So in the end that's four mercies. I don't count (view spoiler) I expect that of him and it's his responsibility. Even though this was a good thing he did in the book, I don't count it as “Bond showing mercy.”

So our grand total is 4. Pretty good, Mr. Bond.

WOMEN
Ah, yes. The women. Definitely one of the highlights of any James Bond books. Besides his complete obsession with breasts, which he always goes on and one about, I have to say I always really enjoy seeing what woman is going to enter the picture and how she and Bond will interact. Yes, I don't mind the sex at all, but his paragraph-long descriptions of a woman's breasts get a little tiring. (What can I say? I'm a heterosexual woman and this does nothing for me.)

Now, a notable difference between the book Bond and the film Bond is that the book Bond is less of a womanizer. Now, don't get me wrong, he's still a womanizer (M is always on his case about it), but he usually only has sex with one woman per novel, unlike in the films where the sky's the limit.

This is a rare instance of him sleeping with more than one woman in a single novel. He has sex with two different women in this book.

There are three women/love interests in the novel.

1.) Jill Masterton. Bond saves Jill from Goldfinger's clutches and takes her away from his sphere of influence. She has the palest blonde hair and deep blue eyes. She is 5'10” and has a swimmer's body. When Bond takes her away (“as a hostage”, LOL) they spend 24 hours on a train in which they have sex 5 times. Wow. That's pretty impressive, Bond. ;) And it's at her insistence: too.

It was as if the girl was starved of physical love. She had woken him twice more in the night with soft demanding caresses, saying nothing, just reaching for his hard, lean body. The next day she had twice pulled down the roller blinds to shut out the hard light and had taken him by the hand and said, “Love me, James” as if she were a child asking for a sweet.

However, we never really get to know her or know much about her. But I was more or less happy with this relationship as Bond is very good to her and he treats her right and does so much for her, I was pleased with his behavior.

2.) Tilly Soames (view spoiler) Tilly is an enigma to Bond. Their relationship really starts long before they meet face to face, when Tilly passes James on the road in her convertible and he builds up in elaborate fantasy in his head about how much he'd like to spend the week with her exploring France. LOL No, but seriously, the fantasy is really sweet and cute and was also winning Bond points from me. It wasn't at all offensive and I was actually charmed by him when he's doing this.

When they meet, however, things don't go exactly as Bond had hoped. For one thing, he introduces himself to her by deliberately backing his car into her's and rendering it undrivable. We get more of this Frank-Miller-type writing and dialogue. Observe his thoughts:

Sorry, sweetheart. I've got to mess you up. I'll be as gentle as I can. Hold tight.

He then proceeds to back into her car. Then he says, “If you touch me there again you'll have to marry me.” That earns him a hard slap across the face. Bond thinks, If only pretty girls were always angry they would be beautiful.

I'm laughing at all of this, of course. Not only because I find Bond's antics amusing, but because the joke's on him. (view spoiler) At least, I found it hilarious.

(view spoiler)

Again, not much character development or personality with her. She has black hair and deep blue eyes. She's an ice skater. Here's another little exchange with Bond to give you an idea of how things are between them:

Suddenly her eyes flared. “Only don't ever touch me or I shall kill you.”
There came a click of Bond's bedroom door. Bond looked mildly down at Tilly. “The challenge is attractive. But don't worry. I won't take it up.” He turned and strolled out of the room.


LOL It was fun to see these two spar. :)

3.) Last, but certainly not least, we have Miss Pussy Galore. She is a lesbian from Harlem who runs a gang of lesbian cat burglars/acrobats called The Cement Mixers. She has black hair and striking violet eyes. (view spoiler)

Sadly, she is the most underdeveloped woman in the whole book. We barely get to know her. I was disappointed.

In summary on women, this is why I like the books where James Bond is with only one woman (which is the norm). This way, we get to actually know and (hopefully) like the female character and we get to really see a development of a relationship between her and Bond. Sometimes it's serious, sometimes it's just for fun, but either way, I like getting a more fleshed-out woman character in the book. I felt like this book was a rip-off. Three women but no chance to get to know them as people and see how they would interact with Bond in a relationship. And this is the funnest part for me. So I was disappointed.

HUMOR
As my final point, I must add that there is a hilarious scene where James Bond thinks he has died and believes he's going to/in heaven. It's a hoot and a half. Especially when he tries to figure out how he's going to introduce all his girlfriends to one another. I am adding a whole extra star just for this scene. It was the only time in this book when I felt I was laughing WITH Fleming instead of AT Fleming. He doesn't usually add humor to his books and I appreciated this little scene.

SUMMARY – All in all, this book was exciting, fast-paced, riveting, and a fun adventure. There were a few boring parts – for instance, Fleming's obsessed with cards and there were a few pages of boring card game descriptions. Also, as a warning, there are 18 (EIGHTEEN!!!!) pages of golf. Straight golf. Bond vs. Goldfinger. Honestly, I was sort of nodding off at this part. Fleming really does try to keep it interesting and I have to say it was not nearly as bad as it could have been, but I mean... come on. 18 pages of golf?! Have mercy on your poor readers. Another drawback to the book is how offensive it is. No holds barred. Especially the Korean stuff. There's almost no one left unoffended – the only people who are treated as people by Fleming are heterosexual white males who are NOT Jewish and preferably are British. If you can laugh at/brush off the homophobia, racism, and misogyny in the book – then it is a fun, gripping ride. If you can't – avoid this like the plague.

MOVIE UPDATE IN COMMENTS DUE TO LACK OF SPACE #11
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Reading Progress

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Finished Reading
January 4, 2015 – Started Reading
January 4, 2015 – Shelved
January 4, 2015 –
page 3
1.4% "James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lough of Miami airport and thought about life and death.
It was part of his profession to kill people. He had never liked doing it and when he had to kill he did it as well as he knew how and forgot about it.
...
What an extraordinary difference there was between a body full of person and a body that was empty!"
January 4, 2015 –
page 4
1.87% "Prohibition is the trigger of crime."
January 4, 2015 –
page 5
2.34% "Bond did as he was told.
- Bond is very obedient. Unfortunately, he doesn't obey MY orders very well.
...
Bond broke into his warehouse one night and left a thermite bomb."
January 4, 2015 –
page 6
2.8% "Bond has just shown mercy to someone. Also, take a look at this sentence:
The eyes were bright pinpricks of marihuana.
Fleming is a good writer, it's just that Bond often annoys me by being a terrible person. But so far so good. Except for that one 'stinking Mexican' comment. Yeah. It's page 6 and it's already starting."
January 4, 2015 –
page 7
3.27% "What the hell was he doing, glooming about this Mexican, this capungo who had been sent to kill him? It had been kill or get killed. Anyway, people were killing other people all the time, all over the world. People were using their motor cars to kill with. They were carrying infectious diseases around, blowing microbes in other people's faces, leaving gas-jets turned on in kitchens,..."
January 4, 2015 –
page 8
3.74% "Bond's lips turned down. Cut it out. Stop being so damned morbid. All this is just reaction from a dirty assignment. You're stale, tired of having to be tough. You want a change. You've seen too much death. You want a slice of life - easy, soft, high."
January 4, 2015 –
page 9
4.21% "In which we learn more about Bond's likes and dislikes.
Bond liked anonymity.
and later
Bond affected not to notice the offered lighter. He disliked held-out lighters. He picked up his own and lit the cigarette.
There's also this gem of good writing:
[He was] dressed int he conventional disguise with which Brooks Brothers cover the shame of American millionaires.
Brilliant."
January 4, 2015 –
page 11
5.14% "Bond thought, there's a wolf in this Brooks Brothers clothing. This is a shrewd man."
January 4, 2015 –
page 13
6.07% "Let's watch Bond order a martini:
Bond said, "Vodka martini, please. With a slice of lemon peel."
See? Simple, to the point. Not the big production it is in the films. Also, to note, he's already drunk three bourbon doubles, and is about to drink a vodka martini and a pint of pink champagne. He doesn't only drink martinis in the books! And he drinks A LOT."
January 4, 2015 –
page 15
7.01% "Bond was mildly interested, he was always interested in anything to do with cards.

Bond: smoking, drinking, gambling and women. Not necessarily in that order. I can't believe how much alcohol he's consumed already, and it's only page 15. And he smokes 70 cigarettes a day."
January 4, 2015 –
page 17
7.94% "Bond thought, I asked for the easy life, the rich life. How do I like it. How do I like eating like a pig and hearing remarks like that? Suddenly the idea of ever having another meal like this, or indeed any other meal with Mr. Du Pont, revolted him. He felt momentarily ashamed of his disgust. He had asked and it had been given. It was the puritan in him that couldn't take it."
January 4, 2015 –
page 19
8.88% "The flapping of the curtains wakened Bond. He threw off the single sheet and walked across the thick pile carpet to the picture window that filled the whole of one wall. He drew back the curtains and went out on to the sun-filled balcony.
- Since I know Bond likes to sleep naked, he must be giving an interesting show. For those of you keeping score at home on the racism, we've had three: Mexican, Jew,and'coloured'"
January 4, 2015 –
page 20
9.35% "Bond makes $4,200 a year. The year is 1959. More eating, more smoking.
Bond was interested in big crooks."
January 4, 2015 –
page 21
9.81% "He was not keyed up by the job on hand, only interested and amused. It was just the kind of job he had needed to clear his palate after Mexico.
...
Talking about Goldfinger, Mr. Du Pont says, "He's very deaf."
January 4, 2015 –
page 22
10.28% "Mr. Goldfinger held out his hand. "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Bomb."
- LOL. And by the way, in case you're curious, Bond's handicap in golf is 9."
January 4, 2015 –
page 23
10.75% "Bond always mistrusted short men. They grew up from childhood with an inferiority complex. All their lives they would strive to be big - bigger than the others who had teased them as a child. Napoleon had been short, and Hitler. It was the short men that caused all the trouble in the world. And what about a misshapen short man with red hair and a bizarre face? That might add up to a really formidable misfit."
January 4, 2015 –
page 26
12.15% "The man trudged slowly down the pool, his head submerged, his shoulders moving with casual power. Bond thought, good luck to you! You won't be able to keep this up for more than another five or six years. High-divers couldn't take it for long - the repeated shock to the skull. ... Bond radioed to the diver, 'Cash in quick! Get into films while the hair's still gold.'
-I find Bond's concern for random people touching"
January 4, 2015 –
page 28
13.08% "After luncheon - the traditional shrimp cocktail, 'native' snapper with a minute paper cup of tartare sauce, roast prime ribs of beef au jus, and pineapple surprise -
...
Mr. Du Pont was enthusiastic. "Good for you, boyo!" he said effusively. "I just can't wait to see that bastard over the barrel, damn his eyes!""
January 4, 2015 –
page 29
13.55% "Bond went to his suitcase again and took out a thick book - The Bible Designed to be Read as Literature - opened it and extracted his Walther PPK in the Berns Martin holster.
- LOL
...
It was a low, attractive, girl's voice, and English voice...It was at the top of the afternoon heat and she was naked except for a black brassière and black silk briefs. She was swinging her legs in a bored fashion."
January 4, 2015 –
page 30
14.02% "Her eyes screamed at him.
"I've got what I want. Don't worry. It's all over now. And my name's Bond. James Bond."
Bond put his camera carefully down on the chair and came and stood in the radius of her scent. She was very beautiful. She had the palest blonde hair...
...
"What are you going to do?"
"Nothing to you. I may tease Goldfinger a bit. Move over like a good girl and let me have a look.""
January 4, 2015 –
page 31
14.49% "She said tartly, "100 pounds a week and all this," she waved at the room, "doesn't grow on trees. I save up. When I've saved enough I shall go."
Bond wondered if Goldfinger would let her. Wouldn't she know too much? He looked at the beautiful face, the splendid, unseflconscious body. She might not suspect it, but, for his money, she was in very bad trouble with this man."
January 4, 2015 –
page 33
15.42% "There were tears in her voice. "Must you? Can't you leave him alone? I don't know what he'll do to me. Please." She hesitated. She was blushing furiously. "And I like you. It's a long time since I've seen someone like you. Couldn't you just stay here for a little more?" She looked down at the ground. "If only you'd leave him alone I'd do-" the words came out in a rush - "I'd do anything.
Bond smiled."
January 4, 2015 –
page 34
15.89% "Bond glanced up at the girl. She was looking at him strangely. There was misery and fear but also a look of submissiveness, of longing.
"What's your name?"
"Jill Masterson.""
January 4, 2015 –
page 35
16.36% "Bond said softly, "I'd forgotten. One last thing. I shall be taking a hostage for the ride to New York. Miss Masterson."
- God bless you, Bond. This is the second time Bond has shown mercy and protection toward someone who needed it and I am applauding over here.

No sex, fade to black, a week later...."
January 4, 2015 –
page 36
16.82% "On the first night the girl had brought him tea. Bond had looked at her severely. "I don't drink tea. I hate it. It's mud. Moreover it's one of the main reasons for the downfall of the British Empire. Be a good girl and make me some coffee." The girl had giggled and scurried off to spread Bond's dictum in the canteen. From then on he had got his coffee. The expression 'a cup of mud' was seeping through the building38"
January 4, 2015 –
page 37
17.29% "It had been a wonderful trip in the train. They had eaten the sandwiches and drunk the champagne and then, to the rhythm of the giant diesels pounding out the miles, they had made long, slow love in the narrow berth. It had been as if the girl was starved of physical love. She had woken him twice more in the night with soft demanding caresses, saying nothing, just reaching for his hard, lean body. 39"
January 4, 2015 –
page 38
17.76% "The next day she had twice shut out the hard light and had taken him by the hand and said, "Love me, James" as if she were a child asking for a sweet.
Even now Bond could hear the quick silver poem of the level-crossing bells... 39"
January 4, 2015 –
page 39
18.22% "Jill told Bond she would go. Bond had argued with her. But she was not frightened of Goldfinger. What could he do to her? And it was a good job.
Bond had decided to give her the $10,000...Bond made her take the money. "I don't want it," Bond had said. "Wouldn't know what to do with it. Anyway, keep it as mad money in case you want to get away in a hurry. It ought to be a million. I shall never forget last night...""
January 4, 2015 –
page 40
18.69% "Bond had taken her to the station and had kissed her once hard on the lips and had gone away. It hadn't been love, but a quotation had come into Bond's mind as his cab moved out of Pennsylvania station: "Some love is fire, some love is rust. But the finest, cleanest love is lust." Neither had had regrets. Had they committed a sin? If so, which one? A sin against chastity? Bond smiled to himself."
January 4, 2015 –
page 41
19.16% "He had just finished it when there came the harsh purr of the red telephone."
January 4, 2015 –
page 46
21.5% "Bond sat back. He was prepared to listen to anyone who was master of his subject, any subject."
January 4, 2015 –
page 50
23.36% "Despite his prosiness, Bond was beginning to take to Colonel Smithers."
January 4, 2015 –
page 52
24.3% "Okay: Score so far in racist remarks:
1 Mexican
1 Jew
1 black
1 Korean"
January 4, 2015 –
page 55
25.7% "Bond said thoughtfully, "I wouldn't get anywhere sucking up to him, asking him for a job or something of the sort, sir. I should say he's the sort of man who only respects people who are tougher or smarter than he is. I've given him one beating and the only message I got from him was that he'd like me to play golf with him. Perhaps I'd better do just that."
"Fine way for one of my top men to be spending his time.""
January 5, 2015 –
page 56
26.17% "What is Bond driving?
An Aston Martin D.B.III. And it's tricked-out - simply (nothing like the movies).
1.) He can change the colors of his front and rear lights.
2.) Reinforced steel bumpers.
3.) A Colt .45 hidden under the driver's seat in a compartment.
4.) A radio to HQ.
5.) Plenty of concealed space in case he has to hide anything.

That's it. No flamethrowers, ejector seats, etc."
January 5, 2015 –
page 61
28.5% "New facts about Bond:
He likes vodka tonics.
He likes ham sandwiches with extra mustard.
And here's a surprise: he could have played professional golf if he had wanted to. o.O"
January 5, 2015 –
page 72
33.64% "Social errors made no impression on Bond, and for that matter he rarely noticed them. With Goldfinger it was different. Everything about the man grated on Bond's teeth from the first moment he had seen him. The assertive blatancy of his clothes was just part of the malevolent animal magnetism that had affected Bond from the beginning."
January 5, 2015 –
page 84
39.25% "James Bond's golf club has a name! Yes. You heard me. His golf club is named Calamity Jane.

There's about 20 pages or more of golf in here and I'm getting bored."
January 5, 2015 –
page 85
39.72% "If he won the match, as he now had, he would be two up on Goldfinger - an intolerable state of affairs, Bond guessed, to a man who saw himself as all powerful. This man Bond, Goldfinger would say to himself, has something. He has qualities I can use. He is a tough adventurer with plenty of tricks up his sleeve. This is the sort of man I need for - for what? Bond didn't know."
January 5, 2015 –
page 87
40.65% "Rage suddenly burst Goldfinger's usually relaxed face like a bomb."
January 5, 2015 –
page 88
41.12% "There are some rich men who use their riches like a club. Bond, luxuriating in his bath, thought that Goldfinger was one of them. He was the kind of man who thought he could flatten the world with his money, bludgeoning aside annoyances and opposition with his heavy wad.
..
But, in Bond's case, Goldfinger could not have known that high tension was Bond's natural way of life and that pressure and danger relaxed him."
January 5, 2015 –
page 92
42.99% "Bond took out a cigarette and lit it. What did Goldfinger do for enjoyment, for fun, for sex? Perhaps he didn't need these things. Perhaps the pursuit of gold slaked all his thirsts.
...
Slurs:
1 black
1 Jew
1 Mexican
2 Korean
...
How did one, could one, live in this rich heavy morgue amongst the conifers and evergreens when a hundred yards away there was light and air and wide horizons?"
January 5, 2015 –
page 97
45.33% "Bond opened the door. He picked the cat up in his arms. He went back with it to the cupboard, stroking it brusquely. It purred.
...
- Aw, James Bond pets a kitty-cat!
....
There wouldn't be enough ginger cats in the world to help him out of one more tight spot like the one he was in. (98)"
January 5, 2015 –
page 100
46.73% "Goldfinger was carrying the ginger cat tucked carelessly under one arm...
He turned towards Bond. "Do you like cats?" His gaze was flat, incurious.
"Sufficiently."
- Uh-oh, I'm really worried about the cat now... please don't hurt it..."
January 5, 2015 –
page 101
47.2% "Faced by such a man, thought Bond, one could only go down on one's knees and wait for death.
...
Bond looked at the man in deep awe. And only two nights ago he, Bond, had been working on his manual of unarmed combat! There was nothing, absolutely nothing, in all his reading, all his experience, to approach what he had just witnessed. This was not a man of flesh and blood. This was a living club,..."
January 5, 2015 –
page 102
47.66% ""...you did well, Oddjob. I'm glad to see you are in training. Here - " Goldfinger took the cat from under his arm and tossed it to the Korean who caught it eagerly - "I am tired of seeing this animal around. You may have it for dinner." The Koreans eyes gleamed.
- 1.) Offensive.
2.) Poor kitty. :(
3.) Right after this we get the bowler hat reveal!"
January 5, 2015 –
page 105
49.07% "Okay. I am going to have to stop counting the slurs against Koreans, as they are getting too numerous.
[Retired policemen] have a respect for human life. That is no good if I wish to stay alive. The Koreans have no such feelings. That is why the Japanese employed them as guards for their prison camps during the war. They are the cruelest, most ruthless people in the world."
January 5, 2015 –
page 112
52.34% "It was going to be fun playing hare and hounds across Europe. The sun was shining out of a clear sky. Bond felt a moment's sharp thrill down his spine. He smiled to himself, a hard, cold, cruel smile. Goldfinger, he thought, for the first time in your life you're in trouble - bad trouble.
- Dum Dum DUM!"
January 5, 2015 –
page 113
52.8% "He must solve the problem of the girl and if possible get her off the road. Pretty or not, she was confusing the issue.
...
Sorry, sweetheart. I've got to mess you up. I'll be as gentle as I can. Hold tight.
...
The words were hardly out of his mouth before the open palm cracked against his face. Bond put up a hand and rubbed his cheek. (119)"
January 6, 2015 –
page 120
56.07% "Damn and blast the silly bitch!
...
Now the breath was rasping through his fingers. Teeth gnawed at his hand. Bond inched carefully forwards along the girl. He got his mouth through her hair to her ear. He whispered urgently," Tilly, for Christ's sake. Stay still! This is me, Bond. I'm a friend. This is vital. Something you don't know about. Will you stay still and listen?" 132"
January 6, 2015 –
page 121
56.54% "The girl whispered fiercely into the ground, "I was going to kill him."
...Bond let go her hands. She brought them up and rested her head on them. Her whole body shuddered with exhaustion and released nerves. The shoulders began to shake softly. Bond reached out a hand and smoothed her hair, quietly, rhythmically. 132"
January 6, 2015 –
page 122
57.01% "Bond said fiercely, "What happened?"
...
"She cabled me to come. She was in an emergency ward in a hospital in Miami. Goldfinger had thrown her out. She was dying. The doctors didn't know what was the matter. She told me what had happened to her - what he had done to her. She did the same night.... He had murdered her. It must have been out of revenge for - for going with you." 133"
January 6, 2015 –
page 123
57.48% "The girl said dully, "She told me about you. She - she liked you. She told me if ever I met you I was to give you this ring."
Bond closed his eyes tight, fighting a wave of mental nausea. More death! More blood on his hands. This time, as a result of a careless gesture, a piece of bravado that had led to 24 hours of ecstasy with a beautiful girl who had taken his fancy and, in the end, rather more than his fancy.133"
January 6, 2015 –
page 124
57.94% "Bond's finger-nails dug into the palms of his hands. By God, he'd pin this murder on Goldfinger if it was the last act of his life. As for himself...? Bond knew the answer. This death he would not be able to excuse as being part of his job. This death he would have to live with.
...
Bond got to his feet, shielding the girl. 134"
January 6, 2015 –
page 125
58.41% "Perhaps, if he had his gun...? No. bond knew that even his split-second draw wouldn't have beaten the Korean - wouldn't do so now. There was a total deadliness about this man. Whether Bond had been armed or unarmed, it would have been a man fighting a tank. 135"
January 6, 2015 –
page 126
58.88% "There came a slow metallic growl from the end of the table on which Bond lay. It curved quickly up to a harsh whine and then to a shrill high whistle that was barely audible. Bond turned his head wearily away. How soon could he manage to die?...For death was the only exit. He knew he could never squeal to Goldfinger and live with himself again... 141"
January 6, 2015 –
page 127
59.35% ""Now then, Mr. Bond." Goldfinger's voice was brisk. "Enough of these amiabilities. Sing, as my Chicago friends put it, and you will die quickly and painlessly. The girl also. Sing not, and your death will be one long scream. The girl I shall then give to Oddjob, as I did that cat, for supper. Which is it to be?" 142"
January 6, 2015 –
page 128
59.81% "Bond closed his eyes. The sickly zoo-smell of Oddjob enveloped him. Big, rasping fingers set to work on him carefully, delicately. A pressure here, combined with a pressure there, a sudden squeeze, a pause, and then a quick, sharp blow. Always the hard hands were surgically accurate. Bond ground his teeth until he thought they would break. The sweat of pain began to form pools in the sockets of his closed eyes. 143"
January 6, 2015 –
page 129
60.28% "Bond decided it was time to stop talking. It was time to start winding up the mainspring of will-power that must not run down again until he was dead. Bond said politely, "Then you can go and fuck yourself." He expelled all the breath from his lungs and closed his eyes.
"Even I am not capable of that, Mr. Bond," said Goldfinger with good humour. 143"
January 6, 2015 –
page 130
60.75% "What was this ridiculous will to live that refused to listen to the brain? Who was making the engine run on although the tank was dry of fuel? But he must empty his mind of thought, as well as his body of oxygen. He must become a vacuum, a deep hole of unconsciousness.
144"
January 6, 2015 –
page 131
61.21% "Still the light burned red through his eyelids. Still he could feel the bursting pressure in his temples. Still the slow drum of life beat in his ears. A scream tried to force its way through the clamped teeth.
Die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die damn you die 144"
January 6, 2015 –
page 132
61.68% ""Where am I?" Now there was panic in Bond's voice. He tried to rise but couldn't. He felt the sweat break out on his body. God! Was this still part of the old life? At the thought of it, a wave of grief poured through his body. Tears burned his eyes and trickled down his cheeks. 146"
January 6, 2015 –
page 133
62.15% "The encounter put Bond in good humour. For some reason Goldfinger had decided against killing them. He wanted them alive. Soon Bond would know why he wanted them alive but, so long as he did, Bond intended to stay alive on his own terms. Those terms included putting Oddjob and any other Korean firmly in his place, which, in Bond's estimation, was rather lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy. 149"
January 6, 2015 –
page 134
62.62% ""Do not attempt any dramatics. Do not attack me with a knife or fork or that bottle. If you do, I shall shoot you with this." A small-calibre pistol grew like a black thumb out of Goldfinger's right fist. He put the hand with the gun back in his pocket. "I very seldom use these things. When I have to, I have never needed more than one .25 calibre bullet to kill. I shoot at the right eye, Mr. Bond. And I never miss.""
January 6, 2015 –
page 135
63.08% ""Here you will live and work and possibly, though personally I have doubts about Miss Masterton's inclinations in that respect, make love." 151"
January 6, 2015 –
page 136
63.55% ""Mr. Bond, all my life I have been in love. I have been in love with gold. I love its colour, its brilliance, its divine heaviness. I love the texture of gold, that soft sliminess that I have learnt to gauge so accurately by touch that I can estimate the fineness of a bar to within one carat. And I love the warm tang it exudes when I melt it down into a true golden syrup. But, above all, Mr. Bond, I love the power..."
January 6, 2015 –
page 137
64.02% "He knocked on the door.
"Who is it?"
"Me. Are you visible?"
- LOL He's asking her if she's 'decent,' dressed, etc. I've never heard it called 'visible' before. I'm getting a lot of delight out of old slang and turn-of-phrase in this novel. 155"
January 6, 2015 –
page 137
64.02% "Bond looked thoughtfully at the girl. He decided it would be ungallant to spank her on an empty stomach. 155"
January 6, 2015 –
page 138
64.49% "From the beginning she had resented him. Was that only because of her sister? Why had Goldfinger made that cryptic remark about her 'inclinations'? What was there about her that he himself felt - something withdrawn, inimical. She was beautiful - physically desirable. But there was a cold, hard centre to her that Bond couldn't understand or define.
- Um, Bond... You're being a bit slow on the uptake here.155"
January 6, 2015 –
page 139
64.95% "Mr. Springer had the glazed eyes of someone who is either very rich or very dead. 160"
January 6, 2015 –
page 140
65.42% "Bond liked the hard look of her. He felt the sexual charge all beautiful Lesbians have for men.
...
Bond thought she was superb and so, he noticed, did Tilly Masterton who was gazing at Miss Galore with worshipping eyes and lips that yearned. Bond decided that all was now clear to him about Tilly Masterton.
- Bond. You should have figured that out 20 pages ago, for the love of Pete! o.O 162"
January 6, 2015 –
page 141
65.89% "And now! Now it was not a rabbit in the rabbit hole, not even a fox, it was a king cobra - the biggest, most deadly inhabitant of the world! Bond sighed wearily. Once more into the breach, dear friends! This time it really was St. George and the dragon. And St. George had better get a move on and do something before the dragon hatched the little dragon's egg he was now nesting so confidently. Bond smiled tautly. 173"
January 6, 2015 –
page 142
66.36% "And there was only one man in the whole world who could stop it. But how? 181"
January 6, 2015 –
page 143
66.82% "Bond said, "Hullo, Beautiful. That outfit suits you fine. I'm feeling rather faint. How about doing a bit of nursing?"
- Oh, Bond. Do you ever stop flirting? 187"
January 6, 2015 –
page 144
67.29% "Outside this world of movement there was absolute stillness and silence as if the rest of America was holding its breath at the committal of this gigantic crime. 193"
January 6, 2015 –
page 145
67.76% "Bond half walked, half felt his way down the aisle to where the girl lay. He unbuttoned her jacket and put his hand against her warm breast. The heart fluttered like a pigeon under his palm. 210"
January 6, 2015 –
page 150
70.09% "On the way back past the shambles of the galley he saw an unbroken bottle of bourbon rolling gently to and fro among the wreckage. He picked it up and pulled the cork and tilted it into his open mouth. The liquor burned like disinfectant.
- Bond. Are you drinking now? Now is not the time to be drinking! 210"
January 6, 2015 –
page 214
100.0% "She looked into the fiercely slitted grey eyes. "When's it going to start?"
Bond's right hand came slowly up the firm, muscled thighs, over the flat soft plain of the stomach to the right breast. Its point was hard with desire. He said softly, "Now." His mouth came ruthlessly down on hers.
EL FIN"
January 7, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-23 of 23 (23 new)

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Jeff Your reviews and updates are much more entertaining than the books.


Carmen LOL That is quite a compliment, since I think the books have stellar entertainment value! Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Jeff! :)


message 3: by Mimi (new)

Mimi I agree with Jeff. Awesome review and dissection. :)


Carmen Thank you, Mimi! :)


message 5: by Joe (last edited Jan 07, 2015 12:10PM) (new) - added it

Joe Valdez Superlative review, Carmen. You're really in pursuit of a minor degree in James Bond. I haven't read any Ian Fleming yet; my familiarity with 007 comes from the films. Most fans rate Goldfinger as the quintessential Bond movie. I prefer Casino Royale with Daniel Craig, but that's because I'm married to Eva Green.

If I were traveling back in time to 1960, I would probably read a bunch of Fleming novels to prepare for what men were thinking about back then: golfing, bacarrat, killing, racial slurs, cigarettes and gadgets. Of course, in 1960 it was well known that lesbians could be cured by one night with a real man, I can't forget that one.


Carmen Oh, Joseph. Thank you for the sweet words!

Craig is definitely the best, and ironically, closest to the Bond portrayed in the book. Book Bond doesn't enjoy killing, he does it when he has to. He is introspective, and when people (especially women) die on his watch he really beats himself up over it. Even when he did everything possible to save them. He also is philosophical and gets into these deep funks occasionally pondering the meaning of his existence etc. He really is a full character and not the one-dimensional type of guy everyone pre-Craig played. He is basically a very intelligent thug employed by the government. Craig shows this perfectly. Also, the pre-Craig movies are SO SILLY. The books are nowhere near the insane bufoonery you get in the films.

It's hard for me to believe that even in 1959 this book would be considered acceptable and not cause some small amount of outrage somewhere. It's pretty blatant in it's prejudices.


message 7: by Caroline (new)

Caroline Good, thorough review, as always, Carmen. Other than that, I'm totally speechless. It's as if Fleming went out of his way to offend as many groups of people as possible. O.O


Carmen I know, right!?!?!? It's hard to see Ian Fleming at this point as anything other than a crotchety old white man, set in his ways and convinced all women want to have sex with him. And if they don't, they're lesbians! LOL I'm glad I can laugh at MOST of the stuff in this novel, otherwise my head would be exploding in anger.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Caroline!


BrokenTune Great review! They are so much fun, tho, if you can laugh past the idiotic ideas Fleming comes up with.


Carmen Yes, it was fast-paced and gripping, I'll admit. :)


Carmen MOVIE UPDATE: This is in the comments since I couldn't fit it in my review.

This is a good film adaptation. It's not 100% following the book, but it's close enough. The good thing is, you don't have to hear Bond and Goldfinger's racist commentary. The bad thing is, Bond is more of a dog in the film. I'm not talking about him sleeping with 3 (or 4) women vs. the 2 in the book, but instead how rough he is with women. Unlike in the book, where is courteous to his women (for the most part), film Bond is a real bastard. For one thing, he asks every woman he meets if she's sleeping with her boss for money. It's really insulting and rude and I guarantee that in real life this wouldn't get him any play. He also is very rough with Pussy, I didn't like it. Taking her to an empty barn to force himself on her is not a very appealing trait in my mind.

Goldfinger also hits on and pimps out Pussy, which never happened in the book.

Goldfinger has a golden gun in the film, which I found funny, since there is another Bond title called Man with the Golden Gun. LOL

There are NO lesbian characters in the film, and lesbians feature prominently in the book.

Oh, and Bond hates the Beatles in the movie. I have no idea why they threw that line in there.

Overall, a good adaptation. Not a cheesy, junky piece of trash like some of the films are. I have no idea why some are decent flicks and some are horrible jokes.

I prefer the book, hands down.


message 12: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Maybe I will add Ian Flemming to my list of authors to read. Despite all the trashy bits.


Carmen I would love to hear your thoughts on them, Jennifer! Thanks for reading and commenting.


Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!} Ian Fleming is on my list of writers to read, and honestly this content does not shock me.


Carmen Rabbit - It varies. There's a lot of his books that I have given a 4 star and even a 5 star rating to. However, sometimes it is just too much. I couldn't stand the misogyny in both Casino Royale and From Russia With Love. And the racism in Live and Let Die was extreme. But he is a good writer. There are some real gems in here. And I infinitely prefer the books to the movies (pre-Craig), where Bond is just a one-dimensional playboy/spy.

If you end up reading them, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions!


message 16: by Rosa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rosa 18 pages of golf.. Yeah that was crazy!


Carmen Rosa wrote: "18 pages of golf.. Yeah that was crazy!"

I know! So riveting! :D


Louise Culmer Odd ideas about what caused homosexuality were quite common in those days. Betty Friedan for example thought that housewives caused their sons to become homosexual. See The Feminie Myystique. Fireman argued that women at home had too much time on their hands and spent too much of it smothering their sons with love, thus turning them queer.


Carmen Odd ideas about what caused homosexuality were quite common in those days. Betty Friedan for example thought that housewives caused their sons to become homosexual. See The Feminie Myystique. Fireman argued that women at home had too much time on their hands and spent too much of it smothering their sons with love, thus turning them queer.

Thank you, Louise!


David D E Great review, Carmen. However, I guess I like the film Bond more than you, at least when it is Connery or Craig. Also, I disagree about Pussy (in the film)—it was pretty obvious to me that she was a lesbian there, too.

Not to revise a tired debate, but one thing I love about the films is the style. In the old ones, the action and the plot can be very dated, but the style holds up. For example, in the first film, Dr. No, their 60s clothes are amazing, as is the set design in the villain’s lair. Same for you only live twice, where it’s also the locations that steal the show. And Casino royale has the full package. And, say what you will about this actor or that, but the women have been consistently amazing for 50 years.

Interesting that you were ok with like 60 pages of poker in casino royale but not 18 pages of golf in goldfinger. I guess we know the limits of your country-club interests!


Carmen Great review, Carmen. However, I guess I like the film Bond more than you, at least when it is Connery or Craig. Also, I disagree about Pussy (in the film)—it was pretty obvious to me that she was a lesbian there, too.

Not to revise a tired debate, but one thing I love about the films is the style. In the old ones, the action and the plot can be very dated, but the style holds up. For example, in the first film, Dr. No, their 60s clothes are amazing, as is the set design in the villain’s lair. Same for you only live twice, where it’s also the locations that steal the show. And Casino royale has the full package. And, say what you will about this actor or that, but the women have been consistently amazing for 50 years.

Interesting that you were ok with like 60 pages of poker in casino royale but not 18 pages of golf in goldfinger. I guess we know the limits of your country-club interests!


Thank you! Not trying to crap on anyone's childhood, I know the movies are greatly beloved. The poker in Casino Royale DID bore me, not gonna lie. ;)


message 22: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Duda This review belongs in a paid book revoew column and/or an essay column on thr philosophy of the character of James Bond. So through and insightful! Thank you for doing this.


Carmen This review belongs in a paid book revoew column and/or an essay column on thr philosophy of the character of James Bond. So through and insightful! Thank you for doing this.

Awww, thank you so much, Jeff. I appreciate it - you made my day! :)


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