4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Superb biography of a fascinating man,
This review is from: Ian Fleming (Paperback)
This is a superb biography of Ian Fleming, and well worth reading if you're interested in him. It makes two substantial additions to the picture provided by John Pearson in his (also superb) biography published three decades earlier: it gives the story of Blanche Blackwell, Fleming's lover in later life; and provides a much deeper context for the success of James Bond that followed Fleming's death. Neither of these were in Pearson's book, the first I imagine for reasons of diplomacy, and the second because most of it hadn't happened yet. Lycett occasionally overdoses on the connections and backgrounds of very minor figures in Fleming's life, but then again he leaves few stones unturned. While the book is generally more sympathetic than Pearson's, he spares us no detail, even of Fleming's sexual preferences. Fleming was a much misunderstood man during his life, and remains an undervalued writer. The popular perception is that his novels were superficial fantasies, simple Boy's Own adventures. This book shows that they were deeply ingrained fantasies and rather complicated Boy's Own adventures. This book also gives a context to the times in which Fleming lived and to his achievement both in that time and beyond it. While no book could ever present the whole portrait of a writer, taken together with John Pearson's work, one feels that Lycett comes very close.