Sunday, January 31, 2010

(Book #4) Ian Fleming - Live and Let Die

Next up in the year long Read-a-Thon was a timeless masterpiece called 'Live and Let Die', by Ian Fleming. I must clarify, this is not based on the Wings song by the same name, this is the second novel in a series of spy stories following some British guy named "James Bond". Perhaps you've heard of him.

Having only read a couple of these novels so far, I must warn that I may be making some untrue generalizations, but for the moment, I'll go by what I know from those that I have read. I read the first one, 'Casino Royale', last year when I was stuck on jury duty for a day and so I decided to continue on with the series. Live and Let Die followed Bond as he was pitted against his first real "Supervillain" and started to introduce some of the more elaborate methods of destruction that the movies are so keen on reflecting. what I found most interesting in all of that though was the way the story elaborated on the 'why' behind some of those plot points. Why would someone devise some sort of complicated sequence of events in order to kill someone? Why do we consider the villain Evil, while the protagonist is Good?

It has been quite a while since I have seen the movie adaptation of this book, if you can even call it that, as while many of the characters were the same, the plot seemed a bit different. Rather than being a story about an enormous drug ring, it was about a gold smuggling operation that funded none other than the Soviets (per usual). The other big difference was that the movie's memorable voodoo baddie, Baron Samedi, was only present by image and reference only. It is always difficult at first to read a book from which a movie was created, for the very reason that once is constantly visualizing THOSE characters and comparing to THAT story rather than simply going along with the one you are reading. Luckily I hadn't remembered much of the movie to distract me from the novel which, again, was rather entertaining.

One other thing I should mention is that the book, having been written in the mid 50's certainly showed its age with a lot of phrases and terms for various black people throughout the book. The other thing was a lot of talking in Ebonics by most of the black characters, there being a lot in the book. Now I wasn't really uncomfortable by this, as it was mostly a device used to enunciate a particular dialect of speaking, but I couldn’t help but be aware of it all as I read. Referring to a someone as a negro instead of a man in EVERY sentence of a paragraph got to be a little much. But then again, maybe that's how a well-to-do British white guy would have been thinking about it. I was somewhat vindicated in the end by the villain himself making that very point about the demeaning language. I guess Mr. Fleming was conscious of it in the end after all.

Overall, though, I would say it was a good read and that I'll probably continue to pick up the 007 Novels and read about the wacky adventures of Bond, James Bond if I were in need of a more subtle action story with a hint of mid-century cheese.

Until next week...

1 comment:

  1. interesting i have been wanting to read the bond books