casino royale

It’s interesting to read the first book that founded a cultural stereotype, the infamous James Bond. More interesting is that I found this first book to be quite a contrast to the stereotype.

(I’m assuming I don’t need to worry about spoiling a 52 year old novel here, but uh. spoilers ahead:)

Here we have James Bond starting off the novel by a) losing horribly at baccarat only to be b) bailed out by an American, and then c) duped by an amateurish kidnapping ruse, d) beaten to a pulp to the point of impotence, e) spending 1/4 the novel recovering in a hospital, plagued by self-consciousness about his possible impotence, only to f) fawn hopelessly and angstfully after a cold and distant woman who g) ends up being a blackmailed double agent who kills herself in her anguish.

Hardly the image of James Bond as we’ve come to know him. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty damn good novel, and sets the scene pretty well for a character that you could hardly blame for being misogynistic and a little fucked up. I’m looking forward to the next few books (which I have bought along with this one for like $0.70 a piece on amazon).