Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Secret Lit'rature

I have this uncanny ability to take seemingly worthless or meaningless pulp fiction (or movies or actors or whatever) and think that it's worthwhile.  But the Guardian has avenged me:

[Ian Fleming's] aim, famously, was simply to write "the spy story to end all spy stories" and he happily talked about his "pillow book fantasies of an adolescent mind." He was right. Bond does have an edge, but the novels are essentially lightweight, adrenalin pumping and frequently and gleefully absurd.

But that's not to disparage them. A good thriller is worth more than its weight in gold - more even than the multi-million [sic] industry that Fleming created. There's a magic to the brooding enigmatic James Bond, his glamorous lifestyle, his vast range of pervert foes and their crazy weapons. Fleming also has perhaps the greatest benchmark of writerly talent in spades: unputdownability.

. . . .

Whether Bond would have survived so long without the enduring film franchise is moot, but writing as nasty and unsettling as that is always going to be worth reading.

So maybe the next time I'm recommending a book to you, you'll listen, eh?

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