Written by Ian Fleming
Number 7 in James Bond (Original Series)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Genre: Espionage, Thriller
Original Language: English
Read from 2018-05-12 to 2018-05-30
Read in English
Review: After the downward spiral that was From Russia With Love, Octopussy, and Doctor No, my expectations for Goldfinger were rather low. It’s still not a great book, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Starting with the issues, it’s impossible to ignore the sexism (dialed back a little from what I remember from the previous books) and racism. Of course I understand and appreciate that literature reflects the time it is written in, but in this book, as with the previous books, it feels out of place and evil-spirited when it happens. It’s not even an underlying element which adds to the atmosphere of the story. It’s an occasional slap in the face, a reminder that the hero of the story is a racist and a womaniser, even when put up against the (already low) standards of the people around him.
That said, Goldfinger was entertaining. Stupid, shallow, unrealistic, yes, but properly entertaining and at times a little immersive. In other books the lack of detail and lack of respect for realism of any kind might have been annoying, but in this book it’s ignored so thoroughly that it doesn’t matter. Goldfinger is about the story, and whatever needs to happen to let the story happen will happen. There are enough twists for it to feel exciting, it’s sufficiently irreverent to get away with anything at all, and the story moves quickly enough that there isn’t really any time to think about everything that isn’t there. The book succeeds in doing what it sets out to do, and while it will be pretty far down my list of books to read again, it wasn’t at all bad.