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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very different either to the movie or other Bond novels
This is quite unlike any other Bond book I have read. or a start it is written in the first person, from the perspective of Vivienne, a Canadian girl livening initially in London, but who embarks on a tour of North America. Bond plays only a fairly small part in the book, surprisingly so. Like most of Flemings writing it is quite decorative and lacks nothing in pace. It...
Published on 5 Jun 2011 by a little bit of a grumpy old s...

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3.0 out of 5 stars Stranger Number Three Checks In For Vivienne
This book is written from the viewpoint of Vivienne Michel a twenty three year old French Canadian.

Viv tells the story of her time in London and the return home to Quebec. The decision to motorbike over the border to the United States.

She is currently working as the receptionist in a motel in upstate New York. On the night before the motel closes...
Published 28 days ago by Tigerclaw


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very different either to the movie or other Bond novels, 5 Jun 2011
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This is quite unlike any other Bond book I have read. or a start it is written in the first person, from the perspective of Vivienne, a Canadian girl livening initially in London, but who embarks on a tour of North America. Bond plays only a fairly small part in the book, surprisingly so. Like most of Flemings writing it is quite decorative and lacks nothing in pace. It is quite surprising that Fleming, famed as a misogynist took on this book and it stands up really quote well and is far less patronising than one might have feared of expected. Well worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read, 12 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Spy Who Loved Me: James Bond 007 (Kindle Edition)
A little different from the run of the mill James Bond books. Exciting as always though. Bought for my Kindle as the original paperback, some 30 years old now, is getting rather fragile! If you are a James Bond fan, this is a 'must read'. James Evans
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very diferent novel from Fleming, demonstrating the breadth of his ability, 2 Mar 2012
By 
J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Spy Who Loved Me (Paperback)
The first thing to know about The Spy Who Loved Me is that it is not a typical James Bond adventure by any stretch. This is the story of Viv Michel, a Canadian working in an American motel when gangsters descend. It's a very personal, almost coming-of-age, tale, told in the first-person.

It feels much more akin to the short stories of For Your Eyes Only than the other full novels in Fleming's Bond series, and is short enough that I read it through in a single day. The style though is very Fleming and Michel is just as opinionated as the Bond character in other stories. It's certainly one of the most believable stories in the set and most of the emotion is put across with a gripping realism.

It's quite a graphic novel, probably due to the nature of the narrative, and includes some of the most graphic sexual scenes of the Bond novels as Michel recounts her short personal history in the first third of the text. I wonder how shocking some of this might have been in the sixties when the book was first published.

Yes, it is very different from the usual Bond story, but it just shows the breadth of Fleming's writing ability was not limited just to thrillers. It's not an adventure, but knowing that before reading it (after all, I have read it before) I think I appreciated it more than the previous few stories in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Different Bond Novel, 7 Jun 2010
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Spy Who Loved Me (Paperback)
If 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (TSWLM) was the first on Ian Fleming's James Bond novels that someone read they might be forgiven for wondering a.) how a book of this sort could have inspired the movies adaptations that followed and b.) where all the espionage and adventure they were expecting had gone. There's also a good chance that they'd never pick up another Bond novel out of sheer disappointment, so if you've never read any of Fleming's books before (or have only picked up one or two) I would not recommend starting with TSWLM. Go back to the beginning as I did and start with Casino Royale. Its a worthwhile exercise.

For those familiar with Fleming's books TSWLM will still come as a surprise, as it is most definitely not a normal Bond novel. In fact its not really a novel, more a literary experiment on the part of the author masquerading as a glorified short story. Sticking to a three act structure the book is narrated by a young Canadian woman, Viv Michel, who in Act One recounts how she went from a comfortable upbringing in Montreal, via finishing school and a career in journalism in London, to being holed up in a deserted motel in Adrionacks in the US during a severe thunderstorm. Act Two then centres on the arrival of two gangsters with nefarious motives at the motel and how they go from initially unsettling to threatening and eventually attacking the vulnerable Viv. Only in Act Three does James Bond finally arrive on the scene and effect a rescue of Viv.

In almost every respect TSWLM is unlike any other Bond novel. Along with the narration from Viv throughout and the lack of James Bond for two thirds of the book's length there's also no espionage for Bond to undertake even once he does appear (his arrival on the scene being entirely coincidental). His role is relegated to that of the mysterious stranger riding in to protect and rescue the damsel in distress and the likes of SMERSH & SPECTRE are restricted to name checks in tale Bond recounts to Viv during a lull in proceedings. The two gangsters, Horror & Sluggsy, are evil and physically ugly specimens like many Bond villains and are reminiscent of the hoodlums from Diamonds are Forever (Penguin Viking Lit Fiction) & Goldfinger (Penguin Viking Lit Fiction), but they are also less exotic and their motivations (arson and insurance fraud) are far more pedestrian. In many ways TSWLM feels more like a traditional noir crime novel which just happens to feature James Bond.

This almost complete divergence from the normal 'Bond' template is bound to leave some fans wholly disatisfied. Despite some reservations going in however, I found that I really enjoyed this complete change of pace from the other adventures. There are the usual observations to be made about Fleming's anachronistic attitudes to certain things (written in 1962 TSWLM is now very much a period piece) but its also good to see a writer trying something new and different with a familiar character and for the most part pulling it off. The book's brevity helps as the changes in pace and subject matter don't overstay their welcome, and in some ways it feels closest in style to the short stories from For Your Eyes Only (Penguin Viking Lit Fiction), but Fleming nails the character of Viv quite well, avoiding making her a completely helpless damsel, and there is palpable sense of menace to events during the second act. The final act is more tradition Bond action, but stripped of any world changing significance or scale events on the page feel raw and have greater punch.

All in all TSWLM is worth dipping into. As long you don't expect the usual mix of evil masterminds, world changing plots and high adventure you will not be disappointed and if you're a fan of Fleming's spare prose, characters, sense of place and feel for action there is much in the book that will entertain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Bond, 17 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This is the best Bond. Fleming was wrong to be embarassed with it. It is a masterpiece, very different, very refreshing. utterly compelling.
THis is my favourite of all the Bond novels. most of them i found okay reads, but didnt really understand what the fuss was all about. the films are far superior, usually.
But this one just blew me away. Fleming deviates from his formula, and writes the best novel of his career. UNfortunately, it is also the shortest.
The characters here are great, the two killers chiiling. Bond takes on a mythical quality (as a previous reviewer said) in the way he seems to come and go, rather in the manner of a fairy godmother. (although he himself would probably hate ever being assosciated with that phrase!)
The plot of this one is nicely simple, easy to get to grips with, and the writing is very good. I enjoyed this book most out of all the Bond i've read (i.e. all of them). This is a very, very, good, novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Spy Who Loved Me, 27 April 2010
By 
G. Hill "grahamthill" (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Spy Who Loved Me (Paperback)
As this is one of the later books in the series, I found this to be an interesting take on Bond. It is the only book written in the first person from the perspective of another character; the heroine. Bond doesn't even appear until we are well in to the story. The heroine's character had enough to keep me interested and I was waiting to see how Bond would fit in to the dynamic of the story as it unfolded. The end of the story is also a novel one as a character previously unseen and unheard gives an assessment about the type of man that Bond probably is.

I have read that Fleming wasn't happy with this story. Whether that is because of the reaction to it (which was negative), or because he was genuinely unhappy with what he produced is hard to say. Either way it is not the best in the series. There are some holes and times it does have a rushed feel to it. But approach it as something a bit different to the other Bond books and you'll be satisfied with the result.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Girl Interrupted, 6 Oct 2001
Imagine being alone, totally alone, in a remote location during a storm, when all of a sudden, cold, merciless, danger, comes-a-knocking at your door.
This is the situation facing Vivienne Michel, a lovely French-Canadian motel receptionist at the Dreamy Pines Motor Court in upstate New York when she is paid a visit by danger in the shape of two loathesome gangsters. In 'Horror' Horowitz and 'Sluggsy' Morant, Fleming conjures up two of his more hideously thuggish creations in this gem of a tale.
The plot of this novel is basically one of a 'damsel in distress' as Vivienne, who narrates the story throughout, has to confront her worst
nightmares in the shape of the motel owners bully boys who, for some reason, seem determined to hurt her and then kill her. The 'knight in shining armour' is of course, 'you know who,' who doesn't actually show up until two-thirds of the way through the book. However when Vivienne rather fearfully opens the door to be confronted by a man who was, 'good-looking, in a dark, rather cruel way...' We know that our hero has arrived.
This is a Bond novel totally unlike any other I have ever read. It is not concerned with espionage (although Bond does tend to let his mouth run away with itself when explaining how he turned up at the motel), it does not pit Bond against some fiendish mastermind, it is not set in a glamorous location (an upstate New York forest ?) and it does not involve a female noted for looking after herself. But despite all this, it is a glorious examination of fear, and of how love can grow because of that fear. It is also compelling !

Indeed we learn a lot about Vivienne Michel. The first half of the book is mostly concerned with her life-story of broken hearts and shattered dreams. Her vulnerability, honesty and determination to stand up for herself make her
one of the most endearing of female characters seen in a Bond novel. No streefighters instinct like Pussy Galore, no self-assured confidence like
Domino Vitali, this lady is bruised, frightened and in need of a friend.
Bond is his usual, composed and confident self. His quick appraisal of Vivienne's situation is all he needs to start formulating a plan to rescue this lady from the dragons lair. However, we also see an uncharacterstic sloppiness from Bond too. He doesn't slip up once, but twice, the second mistake is so glaring that any Bond fan, familiar with Bond's usual thoroughness, would be puzzled as to why he didn't take basic precautions to prevent disaster. 'M' would have been appalled at some of his amateurish mistakes.
This book incidentally has no similarity whatever to the film of the same name. The two are completely different animals. In fairness it would be hard to make this book into a film, but it would make a truly compelling one hour TV special.
If I had to change one thing it would be the ending of the book. A little too long is spent listening to Captain Stonors homespun philosophy on 'friends' and 'enemies' for my liking, although Fleming is merely trying to show the depth of Vivienne's feelings for Bond. In fact, Fleming in this book demonstrates (especially in his detailing in the first person Vivienne's life
prior to 'Them') his ability to think and feel like a woman. The early part of the novel is essentially a work of romantic fiction, with Vivienne's loves and heartbreaks detailed in a very sensitive and basically 'feminine' way. We already knew that Fleming was an accomplished author of the ultimate mans novel, but here
he demonstrates his grasp of the world viewed through a woman's eyes as well. Remarkable !
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a spy novel at all., 15 Jun 2007
This review is from: The Spy Who Loved Me (Paperback)
I read this novel a long time ago. I had just read "Live and Let Die" but this did not prepare me at all for "The Spy Who Loved Me". Basically Bond plays a secondary role to Vivienne; the story is all about her, Bond just chances upon the scene; admittedly to save the day. I have recommended this book to lots of people. It has a completely different plot to the film, no Russians in it for a start, or Jaws, and I feel it is a piece of literature that would surprise almost everyone's preconceptions of what Ian Fleming's novels would be like.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond stops for a rest and gets anything but, 5 Feb 2006
By 
F. Orion Pozo "Orion Pozo" (Raleigh, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Spy Who Loved Me is the 11th of thirteen James Bond novels Ian Fleming wrote before he died in 1965. It is only the second I have read. I am amazed at how little the book resembles the movie.
Fleming tells it from the point of view of the woman in the story. She is Vivienne Michel a 23 year old Québécois Canadian who, to get over two failed attempts at romance, has started out on an adventure to go to Florida on her Vespa. She only gets to Lake George, New York when she is offered a job at the motel she is staying at for the last 2 weeks it is open by the strange couple who manage it. They leave her to close up the last day and say the owner will come the next day to pay her and lock up for the winter. After they leave a fierce thunderstorm sets the mood for this young girl alone in a motel on a dirt road miles from the main road. She takes a couple of chapters to reminisce her sad lost loves in which we learn that she has trouble descriminating between love and physical desire, a trait the men she has met have taken advantage of.
Suddenly there is a knock on the door and two thugs who say they were sent by the owner to do inventory start threatening her. She is pretty scrappy but ineffectual in her attempts to hold them off. Things are just about to get really nasty when there is another knock at the door. Who should be looking for a room at such a time in such a storm and at such an out of the way location? Why, it's James Bond.
Her description of Bond is: "He was about six feet tall, slim and fit-looking. The eyes in the lean, slightly tanned face were a very clear gray-blue and as they observed the men they were cold and watchful. The narrowed watchful eyes gave his good looks the dangerous, almost cruel quality that had frightened me when I first set eyes on him, but now that I knew how he could smile, I thought his face only exciting, in a way that no man's face had ever excited me before."
This is probably the only time Ian Fleming tried to write from the female point of view. He appears to believe women are masochistic in their love for Bond. The author tries to soften the image by having her say Bond's "almost" cruel looks excited her. Later on she says: "All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken. It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that had made his act of love so piercingly wonderful." Again Fleming attempts to soften her language by saying "semi"-rape and "sweet" brutality. Yet it is his cruelty, brutality and rape that turns her on.
To find out what the two thugs were sent to do and how Bond saves and beds the heroine read The Spy Who Loved Me. Only don't expect to find SPECTRE, SMURCH, "Q" or other Bondian characteristics that the movies have caricaturized him with because you will be disappointed. As a early 1960's thriller this will please, but a 007 blockbuster it is not.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Stranger Number Three Checks In For Vivienne, 12 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Spy Who Loved Me: James Bond 007 (Kindle Edition)
This book is written from the viewpoint of Vivienne Michel a twenty three year old French Canadian.

Viv tells the story of her time in London and the return home to Quebec. The decision to motorbike over the border to the United States.

She is currently working as the receptionist in a motel in upstate New York. On the night before the motel closes for the season. Viv is alone while a storm is in full flow.

Then two nasty pieces of work show up and then visitor number three arrives.

This is a different James Bond adventure.
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