Genre(s) | Espionage, Thriller, Adventure
Goodreads Rating | 3.8
Humpo Rating | 4.0
Goldfinger is the seventh Bond novel that I have read, and it is by far the most exciting. The action takes Bond from America to Britain to Swtizerland and then finally back to America again as he follows the golden thread left by the ‘best’ villain that we’ve been treated to in Fleming’s creation. Auric Goldfinger is tenacious in his criminal activity, but he is also the most intelligent adversary that Bond has faced thus far, and it requires ingenuity and bravery on the part of Bond to foil Goldfinger’s dastardly plans that would see him become the richest man in the world.
Fleming spends a whole chapter dedicated to an entire round of golf between Bond and Goldfinger. Despite being a golfing fan and the occasional player I thought that having a chapter such as this might be tiresome and might bore the non-golfing fans. However, Fleming manages to go through the 18 holes in a thoroughly interesting manner, especially when the stakes and tension are high between the two players.
The standard misogynistic and racial stereotypes are still prevalent in Goldfinger. This time, the target of Fleming’s of-the-time racial views, were the Koreans that were under the employ of Goldfinger, notably the bombastic and unintelligible Oddjob. And Bond’s 1950’s view of women is no better, as Fleming describes all 3 female characters in the same distinct style. The focusing on their figures, their “breasts” and “napes” are particular favourites of Fleming. The superior attitude he gives to Bond in terms of women is repeatedly expressed in regard to Tilly as he takes command of every situation they are in.
Overall, Goldfinger maintains a good level of action and suspense to keep readers hooked on for the following chapter. One of the strongest aspects of the novel was the attention to detail that Fleming paid to golf, gold, card games, Goldfinger’s plan and Bond’s internal monologue. Some of these topics might have been boring or used to fill the pages, but the facts, details and importance surrounding these topics in regard to the main story-line were not only very interesting, but helped to establish the sheer enormity of Goldfinger’s character, wealth and villainy.
Goldfinger, despite the historical views of the time in regard to women and race, is perhaps the best Bond book to date due to the strength of the villain, the odds that are against Bond and the scale of Goldfinger’s plans. Although there are some minor issues in terms of the last few chapters, the novel is strong throughout, and even though it is no Le Carre novel, it manages to grip readers through its own sense of intrigue as Bond and Goldfinger constantly pit their wits against one another.
The Humpo Show | Richard