Casino Royale -- for those of us who read it for the first time and finished it
Posted 25 March 2003 - 11:31 PM
I say so far, because how you feel about your first reading the book will change as time goes by. There is how you feel about it when you just finished it, how you feel about it after you slept on it, how you feel about it after you talked about here, and how you will feel about it a week, a month, a year, a decade, from now.
I grew up with the movies, and yes, for me that was enough. As I first got involved with CBN I did a lot of reading of the secondary sources related to Bond....the Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson, the Essential Bond, The James Bond Encyclopedia, etc. From them, I got a very good sense of the Fleming and didn't think I needed the Fleming to complete the experience.
After reading Casino Royale, I still feel that way.
Don't get me wrong, the book is not bad at all. It's a great read, but Fleming's style doesn't necessarily dovetail with my own creative process. Mind you, as I continue to work on my craft, that could change, but right now those parts of Fleming that annoyed me are when he (Fleming) breaks the flow of the story to go into long descriptions of scenery and characters at times when it doesn't necessarily work.
For example the way Fleming describes how Bond is in a particular moment in chapter one is quite effective. I like lines like "He could feel his eyes filling their sockets." I could, however, lived without the long diatribe on Fawcett, especially since we never see him again in the story.
I do and do not like the opening of chapter five. I like the great details of the area around Bond's hotel. Again, I could live without the history of Royale-les-Eaux.
The dialogue and the way Fleming describes his dialogue is very neat, and yet says so very much. We are pressed as readers to imagine how it is to smoke appreciatively and without affection. I could see and feel the ebb and flow of the emotions of Vesper and Bond when they had their very first dinner together. How can you miss the glint of simple pleasure in Bond's eye as he explains the necessity of toast with caviar?
And how can one miss his annoyance with himself, the girl, and the whole damn world when he says "Yes dammit, I said 'was.' The bitch is dead now."
It takes a lot to communicate tone without telling the reader what the tone is. Fleming does that beautifully.
But what truly pleases me to no end about Casino Royale is the amount of emoting Bond does in this book. He laughs, he cries, he swears, he gets angry, he controls himself, he falls in love at lightening speed, he gets tired, he nearly gets sick, he worries about his health, he ponders good and evil. And yes, even the humor is there, but not the one liners we have come to know and love or loathe, depending on the delivery.
All these emotions....and folks still think Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton are the Fleming ideals. If anything I feel much better now in saying that Roger Moore was closer to Fleming than Sean Connery, if only because of the way Moore carries himself as Bond, particularly during the dining sequences in FYEO and his scenes with M in TMWGG.
Perhaps it is wrong for me to cross genres like this, but I can't view this Bond that Fleming gives me, without comparing him to the five others that I knew first. And yet, I also can't help but feel that this Fleming Bond, the pure Fleming Bond, has lived and breathed in each of the five that have appeared on film. Perhaps Fleming's Bond has lived more in some of the actors than in others, but he is always present.
Maybe Fleming's Bond is the thoughts of Bond we are not privy to when we watch him on screen. But I suspect, if we had thought bubbles, we would see in Bond's mind the words Fleming gives us.
Will I keep reading the Fleming? Yes. Would I reach for a novel before I would reach for a movie? No, not yet, but again that could change.
Do I think any of the actors is Fleming's Bond. Yes. Do I think there is evidence of it on screen. No, not yet. That script hasn't been written, maybe it never will be. But I strongly suspect one of the five actors reads the books and acts accordingly.
It's never supposed to be pleasant for girl when she looses her virginity, but I must admit, Mr. Fleming was kind with me. It didn't hurt at all. It was even entertaining, but we have a long way to go before we are completely comfortable with each other.
Enough from me. Any other first timers want to weigh in?
Posted 26 March 2003 - 01:41 AM
Just so you know the virgin analogy is quite apt. Fleming—like sex—just gets better and better with subsequent encounters. The first time can seem mighty rough, but as one learns the rythm it all becomes most pleasant and smooth. I will stop now as this is a family board.
Posted 26 March 2003 - 02:15 AM
I thought the book was a great way to kick off the literary series and I'm looking foward to reading more of the Flemings.
Posted 26 March 2003 - 02:19 AM
You and I are in the same boat....at some points I saw Moore chatting with Vesper, I saw Brosnan swimming, and I watched Connery drive around. I didn't see or feel Lazenby or Dalton anywhere in this book, but that's OK. I have a feeling I'll only see Lazenby when I read OHMSS.
I am wondering if at certain moments....for me they were when Bond was being tortured and when he says "The bitch is dead now,"....you see a faceless man with dark hair. That's what happened to me. I had no face to go with the action, just the body and a voice out of nowhere.
Posted 26 March 2003 - 09:25 PM
I came back to reading it a few months ago and finished it in one sitting. Although the characters I have to agree are left a little too much to your own imagination I found that I really cared about James. Le Chiffre and the caper played second fiddle to the realtionship between him and Sophie Ellis Bextor lookalike Vesper. Bond is someone that I think everyman can connect with but probably really doesn't want to or think he should. He's cruel and arrogant and has been sugar dusted for the screen removing these or atleast varnishing them with wit and cool.
I enjoyed meeting James Bond for the first time and however much you watch the films this is the first time you really meet him.
The detail of the caper I found interesting and I have to agree with xen that too often Flemming indulges himself in over description of very dull things. The minute details of the spy game in the 50's I found compelling and the twists and turns interesting. But it is Bond's emotional rawness that is the core of the book, his flaws and everything and the fact that this mysogenist can fall in love so quickly and have his heart broken even faster, brushing it under the carpet like he would before he met her shows Flemming's understanding of men. On that level I found Casino Royale satisfying and a pleasent shock.
On the other hand the actual plot (aside from the Vesper story) was thin compared to the films but was much aidied by dark malevolence and high octane card duels that bring the screen and the page to life.
The brevity of the book helped. Seemed to wiz by as I sat infront of the telly ignoring it.
Yep I really enjoyed it. Although I have make a comparison with Hannibal Lecter in Bond. I read Hannibal before Bond and have bought Red Dragon but don't fancy reading it yet. Like Hannibal James Bond is not a man I fancy meeting again on a regular basis but when I do I'll whiz through the next book and enjoy every page.
Posted 26 March 2003 - 10:19 PM
If anything...how truly sensitive Bond can be at times comes out quite clearly in this book. If anything, we see a man who is constantly at war with that sensitive side, and has to force it down.
For heaven's sake...the man cries in this book! When did he do that in the movies?
Posted 27 March 2003 - 01:52 PM
I wondered if you found that you weren't jumping to read the next book neither Xen? or anyone else who read it for the first time.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 01:57 PM
Yeah, it's a bugger when that happens.
Incidentally, for the benefit of a few other posters, his name is FLEMING- with only one M.
And hey, as all Bond fans know, there's only one M
Posted 27 March 2003 - 01:58 PM
Posted 27 March 2003 - 02:24 PM
Posted 27 March 2003 - 07:28 PM
Posted 27 March 2003 - 08:33 PM
Maybe us girls need a touch more description, but I am sure the guys can all sympathize. I mean you see some guy get kicked in the netherworld on TV, and you cringe in sympathy. I think Fleming felt you guys would get the point, so to speak. ;-)
Anyway....to answer the other question, no I am not jumping to read the next book, but I know I will enjoy it when I read it again.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 08:58 PM
I expect most readers do the same at some point.
Posted 27 March 2003 - 09:48 PM
My gripe was that he was being beaten with his **** through a chair from underneath by a carpet beater. I couldn't imagine that Le Chiffre could get that much velocity between floor and testicles to cause him huge amounts of pain. And the description seemed to be that he "tipped" the carpet beater. My minds eye couldn't see how each beat could be excrutating.
Posted 28 March 2003 - 02:41 AM
Posted 28 March 2003 - 01:36 PM
Posted 28 March 2003 - 03:41 PM
I couldn't disagree more. For me, the best parts are the torture sequences. Fleming writes so well, that it actually makes me squirm at times.
Originally posted by Evil Doctor Cheese
I found the torture scenes dissappointing. I don't know whether I skipped a bit but I found I couldn't imagine exactly what Flemming was describing. I understood but some of the exact details were sketchy and distracting so I lost interest strangely. Probably just me... that was the bit that had been dissappointing as it is very "hyped" by Bond fans.
Wait until you read Diamonds are Forever and Fleming actually skips the torture sequence. That was a total let down to me.
Posted 28 March 2003 - 04:09 PM
Originally posted by Neil S. Bulk
Wait until you read Diamonds are Forever and Fleming actually skips the torture sequence. That was a total let down to me.
I agree Neil, I was really let down by no details of the beating by Wint and Kidd in DAF. When the chapter ended and next one began with Bond 'messed up' I wondered if something was accidentally left out. The torture part is great in CR, hopefully everyone will come around to it.
Posted 29 March 2003 - 04:14 AM
Originally posted by marktmurphy
Nice to see someone's not afraid of criticizing Fleming. You make some valid points, Xenobia.
Thank you for saying so. May I ask if you have some issues with Fleming? Join in the discussion...the more the merrier!
Posted 29 March 2003 - 03:45 PM
Originally posted by ChandlerBing
I read Casino Royale the first week after I moved back up here to Wichita. I really enjoyed it quite a bit. That torture scene really had to have hurt! After Casino, I went and read Live and Let Die and Moonraker, which just got me mad because these books were so good, and true justice wasn't done to them! Damn it! Although, they did make some kind of half-assed effort with Live and Let Die.
Though it's discussed all the time around here, the book reminds you what a great film it would be. A true departure from what the series has become.
Posted 04 April 2003 - 10:47 PM
Anyway, I would have never to have expected Bond to be so emotional, after hearing from other fans that the books were much different. What I liked most about CR was the interaction between Vesper and Bond. At one point, Bond comes out with something extremely of out left field, and asks Vesper to marry him. Wow. And another favorite is when Fleming describes how Bond wanted Vesper when after Bond hid the money in the hotel.
I wonder though...why hasn't Mathis been used in the movies? They had a good opperunity in AVTAK.
Posted 05 April 2003 - 08:54 AM
Probably a rights issue. He appeared in the film Casino Royale, so maybe Eon wee nervous of using him. Now they own the rights to that film, they might use him.
Posted 23 April 2003 - 05:33 PM
Casino Royale is a great book with great suspense. When Bond was being held with a gun on his back in the Casino, it has you thinking; "How the hell's he gonna get out of this one! It's impossible!" - but there he goes, he goes and gets out of it! Excellent stuff.
I found that the story after Bond had recovered was slow...and I admit I started skimming through some of it to the good parts as I found it...don't know how to describe it - it wasn't boring - perhaps just stretched/dragged out a bit too much?
I liked the ending though; as soon as Vesper starts looking in the rear view mirror - I knew something was up, and we don't find out until the end what was the problem - which I think is good - again, Fleming keeps you in suspense.
Posted 12 May 2003 - 07:56 PM
Posted 13 May 2003 - 01:55 AM
For the record....given some of his other film work...I don't think Mr. Brosnan minds being al fresco on film. (And don't think Babs Broccoli would mind seeing it.)
Posted 13 May 2003 - 06:04 PM
Posted 09 January 2004 - 02:21 PM
(1) I say so far, because how you feel about your first reading the book will change as time goes by. There is how you feel about it when you just finished it, how you feel about it after you slept on it, how you feel about it after you talked about here, and how you will feel about it a week, a month, a year, a decade, from now.
(2) I did a lot of reading of the secondary sources related to Bond....the Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson, the Essential Bond, The James Bond Encyclopedia, etc. From them, I got a very good sense of the Fleming and didn't think I needed the Fleming to complete the experience.
(3) Don't get me wrong, the book is not bad at all.
(4) It's a great read, but Fleming's style doesn't necessarily dovetail with my own creative process.
(5) Mind you, as I continue to work on my craft, that could change, but right now those parts of Fleming that annoyed me are when he (Fleming) breaks the flow of the story to go into long descriptions of scenery and characters at times when it doesn't necessarily work.
(6) It's never supposed to be pleasant for girl when she looses her virginity, but I must admit, Mr. Fleming was kind with me. It didn't hurt at all. It was even entertaining, but we have a long way to go before we are completely comfortable with each other.
(2) Oh come off it. Really? How on earth is that possible? You're kidding, right?
(3) Big of you
(4) Must be rubbish then
(5) Hmm. Absence of laundromats, I guess.
(6) Isn't it? And as for the final sentiment; what makes you think you were the target audience? At all?
Posted 09 January 2004 - 10:04 PM
The literary Bond is one of a kind, I imagine a totally different Bond than any of the 5 actors from the films when I read the novels, James Bond is just unique.
Posted 10 January 2004 - 12:42 AM
Posted 10 January 2004 - 12:47 AM
I mean, you can sometimes think of Connery doing this or Moore doing that, but mostly all the time, when I read the Bond novels, by any of the authors, he is just James Bond, I can think of him, but you can't connect him with one specific actor. I like it that way too.