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Goldfinger: James Bond 007 (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; 1st Thus edition (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099576937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099576938
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 142,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Nobody else does this sort of thing as well as Mr. Fleming...it offers more passages of sustained excitement than we are likely to get from any other thriller this year" (Sunday Times)

"The plot of Goldfinger is hugely enjoyable and moves with breakneck speed…Then there's the style, hard-edged and laconic. The overview, then, might be of a superbly written, fast-paced and entertaining thriller ... pulp fiction with wonderful characters and unforgettable scenes that pop up throughout the oeuvre" (Telegraph)

"Mr Fleming is the best thriller writer since Buchan" (Evening Standard)

"Highly entertaining" (New York Times)

Book Description

There is only one Bond. Enjoy these intoxicating spy novels in stylish Vintage Classics editions.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For any Bond afficionado this novel is a 'must read'. Fleming's descriptive knack with very few words is underestimated. The golf game is a masterpiece of its kind, breaking up the technicalities of the sport with an evocation of beautiful, peaceful England in high summer as a backdrop to the deadly intent of the game being played out against lengthening, afternoon shadows. There is plenty of depth to the plot and the background story of gold, delivered to Bond by Colonel Smithers of the Bank of England, is interesting in itself, particularly when viewed in comparison to today's money markets. The revelation that Goldfinger is not just an obsessive meglomaniac but also in thrall to the Russians is a masterly detail that gives real substance to the cold-war ploy to rob Fort Knox. The gangsters necessary for Goldfinger's purposes are deployed with a light, almost amusing, touch but none of the heroines have much empathetic appeal, not even the fabulously named Pussy Galore. The Masterton sisters are very one-dimensional. Jill is only there, really, to kickstart the second part of the story and, although Fleming tries to make Tilly interesting with her lesbianism, she comes across instead as 'neither flesh nor good, red herring'. In fairness, this is how Bond sees her when he deliberates patronisingly over her mixed up hormones. There are remarks about Japs and Koreans that would never make it into print today, but the joy of Bond is that he is so much a product of the 1940s and '50s, forever politically incorrect. I know many people love the films, but for me the books are incomparably better.
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Format: Paperback
The seventh (1959) instalment in the Bond series is up to the usual high standard (only Diamonds are Forever has disappointed so far), and is another fine adventure story. Goldfinger's focus on mind games rather than physical adventure is more From Russia With Love than Live and Let Die, Moonraker or Dr No, but Goldfinger is a little more fast-paced than From Russia With Love, and simpler in structure. The focus is on Bond all the way. In Casino Royal Fleming manages to make a game of cards very interesting, even for the non-card player. He pulls off a similar trick here with an 18-hole round of golf.

The male chauvinism, of course is in there. When Bond first meets Tilly Masterton, "Their eyes met and exchanged a flurry of masculine/feminine master/slave signals" (pg 149). On page 222 Bond laments "giving the votes to women" and argues that, as a rsult, "feminine qualities were dying out and being transferred to males", making "panises" out of both sexes, who are "not yet comletely homosexual" but are "confused" - what a theory! As in the film, Pussy Galore changes her sexual orientation when she meets Bond. The book, however, delves into the causes of her lesbianism (and, by extension, the cause of lesbianism in general in the Fleming world picture) - it stems from chillhood sexual abuse.

There is also the usual racial superiority - there is some shocking prejudice against the Koreans (of which race Oddjob is a member). At one point, Goldfinger explains to Bond how he supplies his Korean workforce with "street women" from London: "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 indignaties" (pg 129).
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is so much better than the film.

It is good to see the background behind the story - the parts that were either changed or omitted when making the film. For example, the book reveals Felix's background and how he came to be involved with James Bond.

Part of the value of reading the book is that it includes things that could never make it into a screenplay, for example Bond’s thought processes. He is always alert, aware of gestures which are designed to look innocent such as a stranger in the street who casually asks Bond, like a hawker, if he wants a woman. Bond declines, so the stranger offers him dirty photos and reaches into his pocket to pull some out to show him. ‘The gesture of the hand slipping into the coat was so well known to Bond, so full of old dangers, that, when the hand flashed out and the long silver finger went for his throat, Bond was on balance and ready for him’.

You get to see a side of Bond that never comes across in the films. After murdering the above man, Bond says that he doesn’t like killing people. But it is his job. ‘Regret was unprofessional – worse, it was death-watch beetle in the soul’. The quality of the prose is superb.

There is a darkness to Bond that does not come out in the film (though it has started to be expressed in the Daniel Craig films). Bond, at an airport to catch a flight, watches an aircraft take off. ‘The windows in the transit lounge rattled softly. People got up to watch. Bond tried to read their expressions. Did they hope the plane would crash – give them something to watch, something to talk about, something to fill their empty lives? Or did they wish it well? Which way were they willing the sixty passengers? To live or to die?
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