Thoughts on Ian Fleming’s ‘Diamonds are Forever’

diamonds are forever

This is another post that I’m rather late getting up on here, as I read this a good few weeks ago. Better late than never though, I suppose.

I approached ‘Diamonds are Forever’ very much as just a title to knock of my reading list, imagining it to be light reading and not really a very serious book. This impression came about with the reputation of the films as pieces of entertainment, but not very much more. However, I was genuinely impressed and quite surprised with the book, and indeed was taken in from the first page simply by how well-written it seemed to be. The scorpion motif at the opening seemed an interesting metaphor, and I liked the way in which it resurfaced at the novel’s close as a way of showing the circle to be complete, and the tale over.

In terms of the story itself, it seemed a rather generic spy novel (not that I’ve read many of these), but what stood out for me was the descriptions and the settings- I really did feel as though I was there with Bond as he travelled to Las Vegas or visited the racetrack, and found the level of detail regarding the card games and the horse racing very refreshing. Also, missing was the Bond of the cinema-screens, with his vagrant disregard for any female as nothing more than a sex object, and his questionable record that can been seen to border on the indecent. Here, Fleming instead presented a deep, thoughtful Bond who actually cared about the feelings of the person he was attracted to, who wanted to know her as a person, and who only embarked upon a relationship when he believed it would be long-term. Tiffany Case, the object of Bond’s affection here, was also presented as a deeply thoughtful and intricate person, who was a far cry to the air-headed pin-up that Wikipedia says the film version of this book made her into, and whom any Bond I have seen seems to think that a woman should be. Instead of tempting Bond from the off, Tiffany is presented as intelligent yet vulnerable, who would be better suited as the rescuer rather than the rescued, and I found this refreshing and enjoyable to read. Rather than being a simple adventure novel, the developing relationship between Bond and Tiffany added a further element to the book, and led to it being a much more thoughtful and developed book, allowing us to see into Bond’s mind and his thoughts, and to see him as a more rounded, realistic and likable character.

There’s very little else for me to really say regarding this book- I liked it, despite hearing Shirley Bassey’s voice in my head every time I picked it up, and may read more Fleming in the future. In terms of the films, however, I think I will steer away from the theatrical adaptation of this book, as from what I gleaned off Wikipedia, it seems to veer off from the plot in rather surreal and stupendous ways. I’m inclined to watch the Daniel Craig films, but may stick with the novels for the others.

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