A single diamond crystal. Photo by Jeff-O-Matic
Shru gave me Diamonds Are Forever, the Bond book. My mother used to like the Bond books and we had a few in the house but I never really sat down and read them. They’re really quite good, and very different from the movies (of which I’ve seen the majority). The striking thing about the book Bond is that he seems to see himself as a civil servant, that he loves easily, and that he spends a good amount of his attention on food.
In the Bond movies there’s a certain height of luxury and importance, the most beautiful women, the most expensive things, and people that want to destroy the world. Diamonds Are Forever, however, is about Bond busting up a mafia diamond smuggling ring that threatens the British Treasury’s financial interests. That’s about it. And he stays in motels and gets mud baths. The action is rather desultory (not good) and random, but what actually ties it together is the Bond character.
To be completely honest, 75% of the books seems to be about his travel details and what he eats. I must say that Ian Fleming’s talent for description and setting a scene is quite good and leagues beyond the usual thriller. That said, the world will end if we don’t do this element isn’t there, Diamonds Are Forever, at least, is not epic in scope. I’m curious as to how they even made it a movie (it’s one of the few I haven’t seen).
The books are also notable for their setting in a specific time. There actually seem to be horse cabs, airline travel was something else altogether, and Bond and others are pretty casually racist and colonialist. Oddly enough, he’s not especially sexist, coming off as more gallant in a sexist world.
Really nice read, and interesting prep for the upcoming Skyfall film which, while not based on the books, is supposed to be amazing. None of the Bond actors actually replicate the book character that much, but I do especially like Daniel Craig’s dark and tortured rendition.