Ian Fleming – Casino Royale

Intending to read the James Bond novels in chronological order I have started with Casino Royale (1953) by Ian Fleming. The James Bond novels are in general not long, but compared to those Casino Royale is just over half a novel. This is notable in the story which ends rather abruptly and although plenty happens the reader will get the idea there should have been more.

What compensates this lack is Ian Fleming’s writing style. Most authors I’ve read, especially those aiming to write thrillers or action stories, don’t have a specific style. They just write in a fluent and smooth way which is unremarkable but not bothersome either. This is not the case for Ian Fleming. In the first few sentences his unique style of writing immediately stands out. It is hard for me to describe. I could say it is a style that reflects the time he wrote it in. One way to describe it would be ‘confidant’. The authors knows what he is writing about.

Two other things clearly stand out. First is a fast pace. Fleming does not waste words where it does not matter for the story. In contrast he goes into detail where it matters and also to add a greater distinction to the description of features of characters and the way they are dressed. This creates a specific dynamic.

The James Bond depicted is a raw and uncompromising character who changes somewhat during the course of the story. When comparing it to the movie adaptation this element is well incorporated. This Bond does not resemble the Bond we know from the movies. The story of Casino Royale is adapted fairly true to the story, but as mentioned before it is only half a story so it fill barely half of the movie. Although certain scenes have been extended greatly, also a lot of more story is build around it, but the core remains the same. This core is strong and intense and it surely has been great that they’ve finally managed to bring it to the big screen in its original atmosphere.

Although Casino Royale is a very fine read it is still lacking in story. Nevertheless it shows great promise and I will surely continue with the next installment Live And Let Die to see how the original James Bond further develops and compare him to the iconic character that he has become.

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