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Bourne Identity (Read a Great Movie) (original 1975; edition 2005)

by Robert Ludlum

Series: Bourne (1)

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6,126None663 (3.85)85
Member:DrLed
Title:Bourne Identity (Read a Great Movie)
Authors:Robert Ludlum
Info:Orion Paperbacks (2005), Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:
Tags:Mystery-Crime

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The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1975)

action (105) adventure (80) American (20) amnesia (63) assassins (52) Bourne (63) CIA (34) conspiracy (26) crime (27) ebook (22) espionage (182) fiction (710) intrigue (17) Jason Bourne (79) Ludlum (31) made into movie (29) movie (34) mystery (134) novel (69) own (37) paperback (34) read (78) Robert Ludlum (28) series (40) spy (192) spy thriller (22) suspense (151) thriller (475) to-read (76) unread (36)

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English (79)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (2)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Gah. So many mixed feelings. Basically, if I'd hit CTRL-H and inserted Natasha Romanov/Natalia Romanova for every mention of Jason Bourne (and various epithets), I might have loved this. It would have changed all the horrible gender dynamics and created a fabulous statement about men in power hanging women out to dry.

Marie's Stockholm Syndrome is so distasteful. As are every one of the many instances where crimes against women are dismissed, tolerated, or gotten away with (either by word or action).

OTOH, it's a really well-drawn web of conspiracies, and I enjoyed Marie very much in the few scenes where she got to be a badass in her profession instead of relegated to love interest/sanity-check.

Four stars for plot. One star for gender, glbt, and race politics. Three stars for very good use of setting. And zero stars for leaving me feeling dirty for having enjoyed parts of this in spite of hating other parts. How's that for ambivalence? :/

Disability tag for a variety of characters with various ailments, missing limbs, PTSD, etc., and not all of them evil and/or dead. Actually, of all things in this book, I think I was happiest with the portrayal of people with disabilities as people who had survived some horrible shit, full stop. Whatever their moral compass, they all had their humanity. ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
Opnieuw gelezen na 30 jaar. Toen vond ik het een geweldig boek en ik heb het idee dat het nu iets minder is maar ongetwijfeld een meester van suspense en spanning met een link naar de werkelijkheid. Het nu lezen van het boek maakt pijnlijk duidelijk hoe onze maatschappij is veranderd door de technologische vooruitgang van de laatste 30 jaar ( )
  HiramHolliday | Nov 16, 2013 |
Absolute top spy novel. later made in to a film that starts to follow the book, but soon drifts away to a cheap Hollywood story.
Ludlums plot is very good and as far as I found, everything falls consequently into the right place. ( )
  ReneH | Sep 26, 2013 |
How can you not love these Robert Ludlum spy thrillers? (Can anyone explain the conch shell with the spike through it on my particular cover????? These things always mystify me...sort of make me feel stupid!) This one was very enjoyable.....lots of action, lots of surprises, and lots of characters that had to be kept track of ..along with their multiple names.....but the energy is great, and thus my reading pace picked up dramatically, and it was all easier to keep track of. And it keeps you thinking.....lots of strategy to try to figure out. It did not end the way i would have wished, somewhat inconclusive, but then again, that allows for the next 2 books in this series! Eagerly looking forward. If you like this genre, you'll like this very much!!! ( )
  jeffome | Sep 18, 2013 |
I’m not a violent person. I grew up watching American TV serials where the Lone Ranger shot revolvers out of baddies’ hands (who then merely had a sprained wrist to nurse) or comedies such as The Three Stooges which — like a Tom and Jerry cartoon — allowed the victims to recover with a shake of the head after a potentially life-threatening concussion to the brainbox department. Violence was depicted, the consequences papered over. I was uncomfortable with it, but that was all that was on offer.

These days, as it has been for several decades now, violence is more graphic in entertainment media, whether films, comics or video games. Not just villains are hurt but innocent bystanders and targeted victims. The alarm is raised every so often about how the consumption of this vicariously experienced violence without appreciation of the consequences stunts one’s capacity to exhibit empathy and how it can encourage sociopathic and psychopathic tendencies. I mention this not to stir up more argument and controversy but to contextualise my normal avoidance of thrillers in whatever form.

However, I was drawn to The Bourne Identity not just because I’d been persuaded to watch the 2002 film adaptation but because of reading an impressive graphic novel: in Watchmen violence is a given, doled out by villains and vigilantes alike. And yet I found the latter a thoughtful novel which, rather than revelling in gratuitous aggression, tried to ask deep and pertinent questions about its nature and apparent justification. Did Ludlum’s 1980 novel also posit similar questions?

A mysterious stranger is discovered floating in the Mediterranean off Marseilles, the victim of violence. Though nursed back to physical health over a period of six months he suffers from mental disorientation: he has almost total amnesia over who or what he is or why he is in this part of the world. As he tries to regain his memory clues to his past surface by way of instinctive actions, headaches and isolated words and images. His journey to recover his identity takes him via Zurich and Paris to New York; he comes into contact with a number of individuals who might or might not prove trustworthy; and he exhibits a degree of empathy which might be seen as surprising in one who recognises he might well be a notorious assassin.

Robert Ludlum, who died in 2001, is too well-known as a thriller writer for me to expand on his biography other than to say that his experiences as a US Marine, followed by a spell as actor and theatre producer, add authority to his descriptions of covert operations, his understanding of character motivation and his plotting. Apparently a short spell of amnesia himself was yet another personal experience to draw on, and we mustn’t forget the turbulent seventies when several terrorist atrocities made headlines around the world, suggesting that clandestine organisations with apparently different political objectives were prepared to link up to achieve their aims. The Bourne Identity and Ludlum’s other novels are set against this background, invoking a rather different atmosphere from that of the Bond novels of Ian Fleming, who had died in 1964 at the height of the Cold War.

The amnesiac’s search for his lost identity leads him to the name Jason Bourne. On several levels this is an interesting choice of name, as good writers rarely settle on characters’ names at random: the Greek hero Jason was also on a quest, so the forename is very appropriate; the surname Bourne is related to bourne, meaning a stream, also appropriate not just because Jason is fished out of the waters of the Med but because he is, in a sense, baptised into a new life. This idea of baptism is underlined by Jason’s being treated by Dr Washburn who, in a sense, ministers at Jason’s rebirth. And Ludlum may well have had the Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale in mind, a tale which has a parallel in the hero Jason’s being regurgitated by the dragon guarding the Golden Fleece at Colchis. Jason is no amoral anti-hero: like a chivalrous knight he avoids collateral damage and rescues damsels in distress. In this case the damsel is the Canadian economist Marie St Jacques, but she proves to be no less able than Bourne, playing the role of sorceress Medea to Jason’s Greek hero. In Apollonius of Rhodes’ version of the Argonaut tale Medea is abandoned by Jason, and several times this looks to be the likely fate of Marie.

Why do I dwell on this novel’s possible classical allusions? Well, principally because there are the obvious references to a mysterious operation called Medusa, which supposedly operated in the jungles of the Far East, though rightly the creature (whose gaze literally was petrifying) is connected with another Greek hero, Perseus. Meanwhile, poor Jason seems to be constantly assailed by other assassins, who spring up rather like the warriors of Medea’s father Aeëtes of Colchis, created after Jason has to sow the teeth of another dragon in a field; in myth Jason defeats them by distracting them with a clever ruse involving a precious stone.

Jason’s links turn out to be with an undercover US organisation called Treadstone, but his most dangerous adversary is the infamous terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal. Carlos is a real person, his given name Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, who at the time of writing is still alive and in prison in France. Introducing a non-fictional character into the storyline for me detracts from the novel’s credibility, and the 2002 film wisely chose to drop this narrative thread (along with much of plot). Drawing Carlos and Jason together in an extended Biblical motif of rival brothers also to me seems a little heavy-handed though I do admit it’s ingenious; and while the climax of the whole cat-and-mouse game allows for one aspect of Jason’s quest to continue in a sequel, answers to Jason’s search for identity are largely resolved so that he, and we, are at last allowed some closure. Those answers involve brothers too, though not the murderous kind represented by Cain and Abel.

I end, as I started, by mentioning violence. Ludlum maintains an old-fashioned stance, at odds with what we know of clandestine warriors. Bourne has a humanitarian instinct to preserve life wherever possible, and to only injure and kill when his opponents have no compunction in maiming or assassinating him. But Ludlum also maintains a contradictory admiration for Jason’s vigilante leanings, as when Bourne feels no regret whenever deceiving or stealing from those he judges to be rather less than innocent in their dealings. That very concept — that the ends justify the means — is one that, along with many others, I remain profoundly uncomfortable with. But it does make for a wonderfully engrossing page-turner.

http://wp.me/s2oNj1-identity ( )
  ed.pendragon | Sep 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Roman po kome je snimljen i cuveni istoimeni film sa Mat Dejmonom u glavnoj ulozi. Džejson Born je covek koji nema prošlost, a moguce je da nece imati ni buducnost. Jedino cega je svestan jeste da ga je Mediteransko more izbacilo na obalu i da mu je telo izrešetano. Polako ce shvatiti da se nalazi u zamršenoj slagalici iz koje nece moci da pobegne kao ni od svoje prošlosti. I niko ne može da mu pomogne, niko osim žene koja je nekada želela da pobegne od njega.
added by Sensei-CRS | editknjigainfo.com
 

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Ludlumprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Virtanen, AnttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Glynis
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The New York Times, Friday, July 11, 1975, FRONT PAGE

DIPLOMATS SAID TO BE LINKED WITH FUGITIVE TERRORIST KNOWN AS CARLOS.

France expelled three high-ranking Cuban diplomats in connection with the worldwide search for the man called Carlos, who is believed to be an important link in an international terrorist network.
The trawler plunged into the angry swells of the dark, furious sea like an awkward animal trying desperately to break out of an impenetrable swamp.
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1980 Die Bourne Identität – The Bourne Identity (Titel der ersten deutschsprachigen Ausgabe: Der Borowski-Betrug)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553260111, Mass Market Paperback)

Jason Bourne.

He has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is blank. He only knows that he was flushed out of the Mediterranean Sea, his body riddled with bullets.

There are a few clues. A frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the flesh of his hip. Evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face. Strange things that he says in his delirium -- maybe code words. Initial: "J.B." And a number on the film negative that leads to a Swiss bank account, a fortune of four million dollars, and, at last, a name: Jason Bourne.

But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators -- led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. And no one can help Jason Bourne but the woman who once wanted to escape him.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

His memory is blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survivasl through aa bizarre world of murderous conspirators--led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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