Thursday, October 19, 2017

DR NO - Ian Fleming

Crab Key island is desolate and remote.  So why is Dr No defending it so ruthlessly? Only Bond can uncover the truth.

Its been many moons since I read this and it has not aged well, certainly not like From Russia With Love or Goldfinger , still a fun afternoons read but not in the top echelon and I love Bond books.

The best part of re-reading this was the Introduction by Jonathan Freedland who explains the Bond phenomenon better than most, especially their initial popularity.

For Fleming never forgets that a thriller has to thrill; that, what ever else it does, it must entertain.  Central to such fiction's magic is the promise of escape.  When Casino Royale the first Bond novel, appeared, rationing still had a year to run in Britain.  To a readership still trudging through a drab, grey country exhausted by war and austerity, Dr No offered the prospect of azure skies, powder-white beaches, gorgous women and handsome men.  When jet travel was still a novelty, when foreign tourism was still off limits to all but the wealthiest, how exotically enticing must have sounded Jamaica's North Coast, Blue Mountain and even Crab Key.

To the Brits back home , heads down against the rain, their legs whipped by the wet hems of their macintoshes', a Bond novel was a ticket to distant joys.

If you've never read these books, invest a few weekends, the trick is they were written contemporarily, views, expressions and attitudes were not as they are today.

I say to anyone who wants to alter older books to censor or change, sell a few million of your own before you start touching up those that have gone before you.

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