Casino Royale – Ian Fleming

Casino Royale is the first Bond novel I ever read.  I think must have been about 15 when I read it and I remember being shocked by how dark and sadistic it was in parts.  It was certainly much darker than the Connery, Lazenby and Moore films I grew up watching with my father.  So, when Amazon offered it as a 99p Kindle deal I thought I would reread it.

It’s always interesting to go back to the source material when you’ve seen a film version of something; what has been altered, left out and added in can tell you a lot about the gap between publication and reaching the big screen.  I’m quite fond of the recent cinema version of Casino Royale, which might possibly have something to do with Daniel Craig, and I think it’s a good addition to the canon of Bond movies.

I found the book to be an uncomfortable read.  It isn’t just the dark sadism of the beating and torture Bond receives at the hands of Le Chiffre (something glossed over lightly in the film) but the dark and deep-rooted sexist, anti-woman language that peppers the book.  As an example Bond is described as feeling that making love to the cold Vesper Lynd would be like raping her anew every time and that he was excited at the thought.  What a repellent and abhorrent concept.  I know the book was written in a different era with different social norms but I’m loathe to believe this was acceptable and accepted even in the 1950s!

I really regret rereading this book and I will find it hard to displace the images and feelings it created when I next watch the film.

On the plus side, it has saved me a fortune as I was seriously contemplating buying the original hardback Bond novels as my next collection!

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