Monday, May 12, 2008

For Your Eyes Only

In his house in Jamaica, Ian Fleming used to write a thousand words in the morning, then go snorkelling, have a cocktail, lunch on the terrace, more diving, another thousand words in late afternoon, then more Martinis and glamorous women. In my house in London, I followed this routine exactly, apart from the cocktails, the lunch and the snorkelling.
Sebastian Faulks describes his experience of following in Fleming's footsteps to write a new Bond thriller, Devil May Care. The launch on May 28 this scheduled to coincide with the centenary of Fleming's birth.

In London the Imperial War Museum has an exhibition running from until 1 March 2009. It examines:
... the extent to which the book and films reflect the reality of the Cold War and how much they were a product of Fleming’s prodigious imagination.
The IWM's website is worth a visit so you can spin the roulette wheel and learn some Fleming trivia. (And if you think you have enough at your disposal already, you can take this Bond quiz on the Guardian website!)

In the Guardian, Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond series, takes a critical look at Fleming's life. He puts down the enduring apppeal of Bond to this :
It is simply that he is the man who knows. He's a professional who always does the right thing at the right time: "Nobody does it better." This is the ultimate male fantasy, to know how to order good food and fine wine in fancy restaurants, how to charm a lady into bed, how to drive fast and how to kill. We plodders reading the novels can only dream of this level of savoir-faire, and Fleming himself knew his own limitations. Bond is very much the creation of a man who never quite felt that he was a success.

Postscript :

From The Telegraph, a reading guide to Fleming's novels.


Tunku Halim said...

I love the movies but never read the books. I imagine that they're great fun! (Better than reading a book on butterflies)

bibliobibuli said...

same here - never read the books, really enjoy the films. would be very interested in picking up sebastian faulks' new one though

Anonymous said...

Heh I never read the books either, I wonder if they sold well at all, or that he just made money from the licensing :) Aren't most people "men who know" ? you're born knowing how to order food in fine restaurants, which set of cutlery to use, how to call a waiter without waving your hands like an ape, what to do to signal the waiter to clear your plate (without, again, having to wave your arms like an ape) -- these are the things everyone is born with, right ? or they learn somewhere alone the road, along with the good English skills (which you get by reading really good books.)